When people watched the 124th Rose Parade on New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 2013, they probably were not aware of some interesting things about the parade.
It takes nearly a year to construct the float. Some communities and organizational sponsors rely on volunteers.
Every square inch of the exposed surface of a float entered in the Rose Parade strictly must be covered with flowers or other natural materials. Other decorative items include bark, seed and leaves. Decorating with the non-perishable materials is performed first.
In the days following Christmas, the live additions to the float are applied by volunteers or hired workers. Delicate flowers are placed in individual vials of water and set into the float one by one. It is estimated that it takes 60 volunteers working 10 hours a day for 10 days to decorate one float.
Floats for the New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade used to be driven by horse carriages. Many floats today include computer-controlled robotic mechanisms. Most float drivers can only see the ground below them. They cannot see in front of them at all; therefore, each float driver has an observer to communicate to him by intercom. Most observers are hidden within the float and have limited visibility themselves.
Each float has a float liaison assigned to it. The float liaisons either ride on motor scooters or walk beside their assigned float.
Here are some interesting things about the Rose Parade:
- It takes 20 daisies, 30 roses or 36 marigolds to cover one square foot of a float area.
- Over 500,000 roses are used in the parade.
- Each of the millions of flowers you see is in its own vial.
- It takes 15 tons of steel along with 10,000 feet (3,000 m) of chicken wire for the framework of a float.
- 600 tons of steel, 5,000 gallons of glue and 18 million flowers are used to make the floats each year. The Tournament of Roses is the largest consumer of flowers in the world, and flowers arrive from all over the world.
- The cost of flowers is included in the total cost of the float and paid for by the float sponsor.
- 935 peope spent 80,000 hours to manpower and plan the parade.
- Floats must collapse to no more than 16.5 ft. high, to pass under a freeway overpass/
- Natural materials, such as bark, seeds, leaves and flowers cover the floats.
- Length of parade is 5.5 miles, about 2.25 hours long at 2.5 miles per hour pace.
- Real fresh flowers are used. Different kinds of flowers may be used; however, one float used nothing but red roses.
- Floats are judged in 14 categories, with varying weights; the most important categories are those relating to floral usage. Winners are announced at 6 a.m. on parade day.
- Twenty-four awards were given for some 50 float entries before the parade started.
- There were 42 floats, but only one Christian float.
- A wedding took place on the Farmer's Insurance float.
- A soldier surprised his wife and 4-year-old son and took them on the "Canine for Courage" float.
- Up to three hours after the parade, for a $10 fee people can get a close up view of the floats.