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Kaiser Permanente float full of babies wins Leishman trophy in 2014 Rose Parade

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They looked a bit creepy, sitting there on a table at Fiesta Parade Floats the week before the 2014 Rose Parade, those baby heads with holes for eyes. But coming down the parade route, well, they were absolutely hilarious and darn cute. Eight Fiesta employees donned the huge floral costume heads, and jumped joyfully in a cradle or bounced in a pram, producing belly laughs from the crowd.

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The float, “First Steps to Total Health,” was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and designed by Raul Rodriguez. It won the Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for Most Beautiful Non-Commercial Float. This was the health organization’s ninth float and ninth win.

The centerpiece on the float was a 26-foot-tall stork with flapping wings and turning head to keep an eye on his charges. Mr. Stork, as he was called, had just delivered three little ones and was heading off with the pram to deliver the rest. The message from Kaiser Permanente was “we are committed to giving every baby the healthiest start possible. We believe that one of the most important decisions a mother can make to promote the health of her family is to choose to breastfeed.”

Riders on the deck were two KP babies, Nadia Ruiz Gonzales, 29, who is one of the youngest and fastest Latinas to complete 100 marathons, and Precious Malumfashi, 26, who weighed 1 lb. 4 oz. at birth and spent the first three months of her life in KP’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Also riding were Malumfashi’s neonatal physician, Michael Tabak, MD; Myra Bastidas, MD, also a KP baby; Sean Hashmi, MD, a KP primary care physician.

“First Steps to Total Health” wasn’t the first time the folks at Fiesta decked out employees with gigantic floral heads. ARCO’s 1998 float, “Saturday Matinee,” which depicted eight or so kids screaming their heads off as a slimy green monster emerged from a 3-D screen at the movies.

Flowering on the float included more than 25,000 stems of green Jade, yellow Gold Strike and hot pink Topaz roses with florescent orange and hot pink gerberas, accented with clusters of green apples, hypericum, Cattleya and cymbidium orchids, purple cabbage, floral designs of purple liatris and green bells of Ireland.

A spinning mobile featured celestial shapes in cream and yellow strawflowers, purple sinuate statice and red ilex berries; toys included red and purple carnations, green button mums, yellow strawflower petals, orange lentils and lunaria petals; and the stroller was woven with ironed cornhusk and coconut flakes. Mr. Stork’s feathers were crisp white coconut flakes, dendrobium florets and shiny black seaweed, with legs and beak of individually applied yellow spilt peas. His delivery hat was created in blue sinuate statice petals.

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