By Jason KUROSU
For the first time in one hundred years, the City of Glendale will not have a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade. In July, Glendale City Council members voted not to allocate funds for the parade, a decision which officials say was due to fewer donations and sponsorships being received than in past years.
Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa said that funding for a float dried up starting in 2014, with money going to other city endeavors such as Cruise Night.
“The cost for the float was to be fundraised by Community Services & Parks staff, and supplemented with city resources,” said Ochoa. “For the 2013 entry, we were able to raise about half of the $100,000 through corporate sponsorships and some smaller giving from individuals. For the 2015 float, our 100th year, we needed to do something bigger utilizing hydraulic movement/animation.”
It typically costs anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 or more to design and build a float for the parade.
Since the 2014 float, featuring Glendale’s unofficial mascot Meatball the bear, Ochoa said the city was almost entirely funding the float itself.
“Ultimately, when it came time to budget for the 2015 entry, the city opted to not appropriate the resources as it appeared that the float was not essential to the business community or residents. We had made it to the 100-year mark, and other budget priorities existed,” said Ochoa.
City Council member Dave Weaver voted to approve funding for a float at a July council meeting, but said he was never told why more efforts weren’t made to fundraise.
“Of course, I’m pretty bitter when you’re talking about one hundred years of tradition thrown out,” said Weaver.
Weaver said that though the city attempted to fundraise for the float, he didn’t approve of the method of soliciting donations.
“The city tried some things, but didn’t approach it in the right way,” said Weaver, who felt that asking big corporations to donate did not prove fruitful, as well as asking donors for a gift of $25,000.
Citing his time on the Glendale Rose Float Assn., Weaver said he would have liked to employ more variations when asking for donations.
“When the requests went out to people, we asked for $250, $500, different amounts. If you just ask people to donate and then ask for $25,000, you’re not going to get a lot of people wanting to donate.”
Weaver said he would push for next year’s float in the parade, what he called “one of Glendale’s last heritage activities.”
“I know many people in the community are upset,” said Weaver. “Too many have come up to me asking ‘Why aren’t we having a float this year?’ But there will be pressure to do it next year.”