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How a Rose Parade Float is Built

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TIMELAPSE It takes months to build a Rose Parade float with lots of preparation, construction and decorating before it hits the streets of Pasadena in the Rose Parade. Miracle-Gro did a video of the construction of their float at the Fiesta Floats facility in Irwindale. The 1 minute video is a timelapse of the float’s complete construction. More: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/lifestyle/20131231/watch-this-timelapse-video-of-the-miracle-gro-rose-parade-float-being-built link.brightcove.com Miracle Grow Rose Parade Float Timelapse Video
Construction on Miracle-Gro’s float in the Rose Parade, themed “Grow Something Greater,” began in earnest in November. The float demonstrates a “Garden to Table” movement where fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs are grown in the backyard. Family members then harvest the bounty, handing the goods to a chef who prepares the food right on the float. The family then sits down to enjoy the meal amid the lush, floral backyard near a waterfall and tranquil pond. The float is 24-feet tall, 18 feet wide and 55 feet in length. This is Miracle-Gro’s second float in the Rose Parde. The float is being constructed by Tim Estes and his team at Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale. Estes said his favorite part of float building comes on Dec. 31 when the judges come to the warehouse to inspect and judge the floats.”Everyone’s emotions are running high,” he said. “The floats are a thing of beauty.” mng-lang.smugmug.com
CHASSIS The undercarriage framework of a float can be reused. Tim Estes, president of Fiesta Parade Floats, said the chassis last about 10 to 12 years. They cost about $40,000 to build new. The steel starts getting tired, metal starts sagging. At the end of the parade each year the chassis is stripped and taken to recycling. But if the float has a unique geometry based on its design and Fiesta doesn't have a chassis that will work, they build a new one. mng-lang.smugmug.com
WELDING The float builders have to create the shape of the float they want and much of that is done through welding. On the Miracle-Gro float, the welders created the trunk and the branches of the palm trees right on the float. All 30 of Fiesta’s employees work on the float in this stage because each has a specialty like welding, woodworking, mechanical engineering and others. More: http://photos.pasadenastarnews.com/2013/12/30/photos-how-the-miracle-grow-rose-float-was-built-construction/ link.brightcove.com
GAZEBO Some elements of the float must be constructed off the float and then added later. The gazebo was built off the float and a huge forklift brought it onto the float in its designated space. mng-lang.smugmug.com
BUTTERFLIES The butterflies were also constructed off the float and brought on. The butterflies are one of the float’s animated features. The wings were decorated with orange marigold petals and black onion seeds separately and then bolted onto a mechanism that makes the wings “flutter.” The machinery is then hidden among other elements on the float so the judges and spectators can’t see it. mng-lang.smugmug.com
WATER FEATURE Miracle-Gro is one of two floats Fiesta is constructing that has a water feature. A bubbling brook will stream down rocks near the end of the float in the family’s backyard. The water will stream down into a catch basin and circulate through the float through a water pump.
FOAM The Miracle Gro float was covered in a foam before it was painted. The foam, developed and applied to airplanes in World War II, is made up of two chemicals that combine and are heated. It sprays out as a liquid and forms quickly into a sponge-like solid. It is about 2 inches thick. The foam is useful for elements that will be decorated in flowers because the float builders can insert test tubes with a pointed tip that will be filled with water so that the flowers can continue to “drink” water even after they are applied to the float. The flowers that generally require water are roses, gerber daisies and orchids. photos.pasadenastarnews.com
PAINTING Each surface of the float is painted based on how it will be decorated, like a “decorate by numbers.” The paint-color tells the decorator what type of materials are used to cover the float. photos.pasadenastarnews.com
FLOWERS The float will be covered in more than 15,000 colorful roses, 12,000 yellow Giant Oncidium, golden hybrid Vanda and James Story Orchids, more than 7,000 dendrobium orchids, sculpted fruits and vegetables decorated in orange lentil seeds, dehydrated carrot and red pepper flakes, and more. link.brightcove.com Miracle Grow Float - Decorating
DRIVER Estes said it is a myth that the float drivers, who are buried underneath the float, follow the pink line painted down the middle of Colorado Boulevard. Drivers actually have an “observer” on the float who is the driver’s eyes. The two people communicate via headset and the observer will tell the drive which way to turn the float and if there is something obstructing the road. The observer also has a brake pedal. On the Miracle-Gro float, the observer will appear as though he/she is part of the float, the person will be dressed like a gardener holding a shovel or another tool.
MODEL For every float Fiesta constructs, a mini-model is created after the float is designed by color rendering with the client. The model is a one-inch to one-foot – scale rough construction model. Estes said he and his team play around best fit for the placement of the elements of the float. One of the most important aspects is the float’s height. If the float is over 16 feet, 2 inches, it needs to be able to fold down in order to get under the 210 freeway over pass at Sierra Madre Boulevard. And that needs to happen in a minute or less. mng-lang.smugmug.com
Terracotta container pots will be filled with tulips, stargazer lilies, lisianthus, hydrangea, tuberose, delphinium and gerbera. Herb containers will hold basil, dill, oregano, thyme and sage plants.