After visiting Cal Poly Pomona’s home page on a whim one day, second-year graphic design student Carlos Aceytuno never would have believed that moment would lead him to submit the winning design for the Cal Poly Rose Float.

“I have never done a float design, it was a completely new experience,” Aceytuno said. “I do have experience creating art, as I love to draw and have done so since the second grade.”

Cal Poly began participating in the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1949. 

This is when both campuses of San Luis Obispo and Pomona joined forces to construct a float together. 

This is the 71st student-built and student-designed float from Cal Poly. 

“Before I even knew there was such a contest, I had seen the previous year’s float and I thought to myself, ‘How does one go about designing such a large craft?’” Aceytuno said. “It was a happy coincidence that I stumbled onto the information for the design contest on Cal Poly’s home page soon after.”

The 130th Rose Parade theme was “The Melody of Life.” Aceytuno took this theme and implemented it into his design for the float, “Far Out Frequencies.”

The float, “Far Out Frequencies,” designed by second-year CPP graphic design student Carlos Aceytuno, won the Extraordinaire Award. GRACE MIIKURIYA  |  THE POLY POST

“As soon as I saw the theme, the gears in my head started turning. I am a science fiction nerd and I started thinking of aliens and astronauts and how I could incorporate the music aspect of the theme.”

The design for his creation was inspired by the artist Boneface, whom Aceytuno says he looks up to.

The theme is “The Melody of Life” because it celebrates music as a universal language and Aceytuno also believes this to be true. 

“I love music. I listen to it whenever I need to work, study, or just chill. It helps me get through the days. Even when I am not actively listening to music, music is everywhere …. I also listen to a lot of music that I don’t understand in terms of language, or music that does not have lyrics at all. That’s where the concept of ‘music as a universal language’ comes into play for me. I don’t have to fully understand what the artist is saying, yet I can tell what they are trying to express. I imagine it is the same for everyone.”

His design consisted of an astronaut holding a guitar, his rocket ship, and a band of alien friends playing various instruments with him in outer space. 

“My favorite part of the design I made was definitely the astronaut, as I imagined myself in his boots leading a group of alien musicians.”

The float design contest had two options for the prize. 

One option was tickets to the Rose Parade and the other was a $500 prize. Aceytuno will use this prize money to buy a DSLR camera for a photography class that he is going to take for his major.

“It feels amazing. It is almost as if this were a joke, but it is not, it is actually going to happen,” he said before the Rose Parade. “I find it hard to believe that my design is going to be seen by so many people.”

The Tournament of Roses Parade took place on New Year’s Day where thousands in the stands and millions at home saw Aceytuno’s design. 

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