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Rose Parade 2012 float progress

June 3, 2011 |  1:54 pm

Kiwanis It may be just June, but Rose Parade float-builders are already well down the road with their smaller productions.

“Right now there are three floats that are completely painted, two that are almost done with the cocoon stage and two others in the beginning metal-sculpture stage,” said Lisa Ely, marketing and media director for Phoenix Decorating Co. Shown above is the painted Kiwanis float at the Phoenix facility on Raymond Avenue in Pasadena.

As a float is built it rises from an underlying metal sculpture to finally include a chicken-wire mesh. The mesh is then covered with a white foam — the cocoon.

Rose When the cocoon is dry and sturdy, an art team converges on the float and sketches all the areas that will be covered with flowers, doing a basic pencil layout. “It’s a sort of paint-by-numbers approach,” Ely explained.

Painters add the colors that will be matched in flowers and natural materials. A typical small float requires about 30 to 35 gallons of paint to indicate the entire color array. Shown at right is a float awaiting painting.

Getting early sponsor approval is a key to keeping the float-building teams busy in this early stage of the process. Phoenix builds more floats for the parade than any other company.

“We’ll probably have about 22 floats this year, but the number could grow,” said Ely. “Typically, we would know our numbers but the tournament (the Tournament of Roses organization) is still inviting sponsors and talking with people of interest who are thinking of entering floats in the parade.”


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— Tom Reinken

Photo credit: Julie Sheer