128th Tournament of Roses Parade

By Jesse Rosales

Each year, Cal Poly Pomona partners with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to create a float for the Tournament of Roses Parade.

This year’s float was titled “A New Leaf” and depicted a family of chameleons exploring nature.

The chameleons’ eyes moved independently, insect wings flapped and one of the chameleons changed colors through a clever design trick.

The Rose Float team and volunteers worked on site in Pasadena for the final decoration week right up until the big day on Monday.

San Luis Obispo County resident Dorothy Buck volunteered for her fifth year.

“The kids are fantastic. To see what they created and what they do. That’s the main thing,” said Buck.

Under the protection of a tent large enough to hold several floats, hundreds of people worked to apply the final touches to the vibrant and unique scenes.

The volunteers consisted of everyone from children to the elderly.

People gathered at tables to blend rice, crush leaves, glue beans and trim flower petals, among other meticulous tasks.

Others worked on scaffolding and the inner mechanics that go into preparing the rose float.

Cal Poly SLO volunteers had to drive down every weekend during production to help out.

Paulina Trujilo is a Cal Poly SLO alumna who also served as Deco Chair for two years at the Cal Poly SLO Rose Float Organization.

She has continued to volunteer every year since her graduation.

“It was three years of waking up at 5 a.m. and not getting home until two,” said Trujilo.

Hunter Turner, a Cal Poly SLO alum, has been coming to help with the float since 1997.

His wife and children accompany him along with his sister-in-law’s family.

“I’ve been here until three in the morning on the scaffolding when they were behind at night and they were begging me to stay even though I worked in the morning,” said Turner.

Turner also expressed the satisfaction of keeping the tradition alive as well as being able to support his hometown.

Because the float was constructed of organic material as well as lots of fresh flowers, some decorations could not be completed until the final day.

A refrigerated trailer was on site waiting with empty shelves for the expected shipments of flowers.

A storage tent held rows of fresh flower varieties as well as heaters drying out grapefruit, lemons, limes and onion peels.

The rinds served as pigment and texture for the design, according to Kyle Neilus, the president of the CPP Rose Float Organization and a fifth-year civil engineering student.

For many, the float represented the dedication and time of the volunteers.

“It’s totally worth it,” said Trujilo.

128th Tournament of Roses parade

Eviana Vergara / The Poly Post

128th Tournament of Roses parade

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