Oh, no! You’ve just dug a hole to plant a tree, punctured a gas line, and set off an explosion! This might seem like a comical scenario, but a real-life incident in the mid-seventies took out an entire city block and cost nine lives when a construction crew in Los Angeles County accidentally broke a petroleum pipeline.
With a touch of whimsy, Underground Service Alert 811 (DigAlert) presented a humorous float aimed at bringing attention to the free DigAlert 811 service, which was formed in 1976 to prevent future tragedies. “Protecting Your Dream, Right in Your Own Backyard” won the Animation Trophy in the 2014 Rose Parade with its diggin’ doggies. The float was designed by Don Davidson and built by Fiesta Parade Floats.
While the backhoe puffed smoke, the cab and boom rose, lowered, and swung around, picking up a bucketful of dirt and pipes. A crew of hard-hated chicks directed the action. Sound effects included construction noises and music.
The float was presented as a public service to remind homeowners to contact DigAlert at www.digalert.org or by calling 811 before making improvements. The coalition of 900 Southern California utility companies notifies the relevant companies to come out and mark where the lines are, all for free.
Riders were eight representatives from the utilities, each wearing a different color hard hat to match the markings left by the technicians: red, electrical; orange, communications; green, sewer and storm drains; yellow, gas, oil, steam; blue, water; white, proposed excavation; pink, survey marking; purple, reclaimed water.
This was the second float to call attention to hidden utility lines; the first was the La Cañada Flintridge float in 2011, “3-2-1 DIG!”
Flowering included 9,000 roses, 3,000 dendrobium orchids, and a bevy of flowering plants in the garden. For more details, see the photos in the attached list.
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