For those of you who have been to the Grand Canyon, you know that you can’t fully appreciate it unless you go in person. The same can be said of the Rose Parade which takes place each January 1st in Pasadena, California. Seeing it on TV is definitely not the same as being there in person. I have been going to the Rose Parade every year since I moved to Southern California in 2011 and have thoroughly enjoyed it each time. However, this was the first year I decided to take the next step and actually go see the floats up close and personal, as near as you can get without actually working on or being lucky enough to ride on one of them in the parade.
I ventured out to see the after-parade viewing of the floats this year, and I was not disappointed. This opportunity allowed me to get within several feet of each float. It was fascinating to see the materials and look at the construction up close. Let me confirm that every single bit of decoration on those floats is of some type of plant material. Have you ever wondered how they get that black and white newspaper effect on some of the floats? Black poppyseed and white rice. The solid black look? Seaweed. The textured browns? Seeds and beans. There are designs from cranberries and oranges, red lentils and blueberries, dried raisins and cabbages, brussels sprouts and apricots.
My favorite were the suckers on octopus tentacles which were made of dried bananas. Each float has multiple hosts there who are able to answer questions and provide information. My most touching moment was at the float honoring organ donors. The host was wearing a button of a young man. It turns out he was her son. He suddenly and unexpectedly died of an enlarged heart in his sleep at age 29. Although it was discovered too late to use his organs, his tissues helped over 60 people. He was honored through this float. The 2018 theme was “Making a Difference”, and he clearly did.
I would encourage you all to take the next step and truly see the floats up close and personal at next year’s parade. It is a worthwhile and enjoyable few hours. I actually have one more step when it comes to the floats – I’d like to work on putting one together. To me, this would be like hiking down into the Grand Canyon. Both goals are on my bucket list. And you never know, maybe someday I’ll actually be in the parade.
Enjoy more pictures of this year’s Rose Parade floats in our gallery below!