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LA councilmen and Watts Towers Arts Center volunteers decorate Rose Parade float

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Tom LaBonge is nothing if not enthusiastic. “I love LA!” he cheered at Friday’s press conference at Phoenix Decorating Company. “And even more, I love the Tournament of Roses!”

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The Los Angeles City councilman, who represents Dist. 4, was joined by Mike Bonin, Dist., 11, Curren Price, Jr., Dist. 9, and Rosie Lee Hooks who is the director of the Watts Towers Arts Center and Watts Towers Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center. They made the rare trip to Pasadena to show support for the longest-running float entry, the City of Los Angeles and glue a few seeds on the float. Now in its 116th consecutive year, the float is sponsored by the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board.

Hooks brought along some 80 volunteers from the Watts Towers centers, who were busily snipping and applying dry materials to the float. The Watts Towers Arts Center is the curator of the historic towers built by immigrant Simon Rodia over 33 years from 1921 to 1954. They are depicted on the LA float, along with other landmarks in the city. According to the center, it is the first time the Watts Towers have been depicted on a Rose Parade float.

“Come and see us!” she invited. “We’re pretty happy to be part of it, because it brings more visibility to the Watts Towers,” she told Examiner.

Bonin said the float, which features the space shuttle Endeavor and three pillars representing entertainment, cultural diversity, and sports and arts culture, is “a celebration of achievement. Everything points towards heaven.”

Price noted that the float, “Endless Entertainment,” “expresses the ethnic and cultural diversity of Los Angeles.”

LaBonge enthused about the Rose Parade. “It’s the greatest of all parades!” he said. “You’ve got to see the parade. If you don’t go, you’ve got to watch it on TV.” He added, “Everyone says, ‘There’s no great big New Year’s party in Los Angeles.’ That’s because we’ve got the Tournament of Roses.”

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