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Western Asset wins 2014 Rose Parade Past Presidents Trophy with a floral safari

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It is a real groaner, the name of the 2014 Western Asset Management Co. Rose Parade float: “So Close, yet Safari Away.” The design itself was a little more serious, with realistic animated gazelles, lions, elephants and giraffes.

The entry, designed by Michelle Lofthouse of Phoenix Decorating Company, won the Past Presidents Trophy for Most Creative Design & Use of Both Floral & Non-Floral Materials. It was chosen from five concepts by the employees of Western Asset, who were then asked to suggest the name. The delicious little pun, “So Close, yet Safari Away,” was the winner. Employees also help with decorating the float.

The float reflected the “Dreams Come True” theme of the 2014 Tournament of Roses by celebrating the “spirit and the opportunity to dream through adventure, natural wonder, and exploration.”

Details on the float can be found with the six photos in the list attached to this article.

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Columnists are not notified of comments via Disqus, so if you have a question or would like a reply to your comment, please post on Facebook at All Things Rose Parade or email The theme of the 125th Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game on Wednesday, Jan.1, 2014 was “Dreams Come True.” Subscribe to Tournament of Roses Examiner by clicking the "Subscribe" link for the latest news and for upcoming announcements for the 2015 Tournament of Roses.

‘So Close, yet Safari Away’
‘So Close, yet Safari Away’ Ramona Monteros

‘So Close, yet Safari Away’

The Western Asset Management Co. caught the spirit of a far-off trip to Africa with their 2014 Rose Parade entry.  Several pairs of animals—gazelles, giraffes, elephants, lions, elands, birds, and gibbons (out of sight at rear of float)—offered a rich assortment of wildlife.  The float was  designed by Michelle Lofthouse of Phoenix Decorating Company.

Graceful giraffes and magnificent elephants
Graceful giraffes and magnificent elephants Ramona Monteros

Graceful giraffes and magnificent elephants

Gently nodding their heads, giraffes and elephants on the Western Asset float moved gracefully along the Rose Parade route.  Details in the animal coats using dry materials and banks and sprays of fresh floral materials won the Past Presidents Trophy for Most Creative Design & Use of Both Floral & Non-Floral Materials.

King of the beasts
King of the beasts Ramona Monteros

King of the beasts

A lion holds court from a rose-covered tor on the Western Asset float.  A pair of African birds is poised above.  Typically, manes are created with pampas and/or uva grass and the white and black highlights with crushed sweet rice and onion seed.  The coat is likely cut yellow and gold strawflower.

Real water in the cascade
Real water in the cascade Ramona Monteros

Real water in the cascade

A working waterfall on a Rose Parade float, as this one on the Western Asset “So Close, yet Safari Away,” uses recycled water to create a melodious cascade.  A female lion is perched atop the waterfall, and an eland gently nods its head below.  The coloring of the cliffs behind show an excellent use of dry material to achieve a smooth, paint-like appearance.

Employees get involved
Employees get involved Laura Berthold Monteros

Employees get involved

Western Asset employees not only help with decorating the float at Phoenix Decorating Company, they chose the design from among five concepts and came up with the name “So Close, yet Safari Away” for the 2014 Rose Parade.  The little gazelles at the front rocked up and down, “leaping” across the African savannah.

Heron in a pool of flowers
Heron in a pool of flowers Laura Berthold Monteros

Heron in a pool of flowers

Iris form a floral pool for a wading heron on the Western Asset float, which won the Past Presidents Trophy for Most Creative Design & Use of Both Floral & Non-Floral Materials.  This heron is a good example of the use of various grasses, seeds, and dried petals to imitate animal coats.



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