The cities of La Cañada Flintridge and Glendale were recognized for float design excellence.
By Mary O’KEEFE
The 124th Rose Parade rolled down Colorado Boulevard Tuesday morning celebrating the theme of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.”
Two local entries won awards: The city of Glendale won the Governor’s Award for the best depiction of life in California with their float titled “Living the Good Life.” La Cañada Flintridge won the Animation Award for its float titled “Dino-Soar.”
On the Glendale float were images of California including nurses and doctors from Glendale Adventist Medical Center and a newborn baby and her mother. There was a bridge of film between two flowered columns and an old electric trolley car where those who rode the float sat and waved at the crowd.
Army of Pink winner Capt. Carl Povilaitis was awarded a seat on the Glendale Rose Parade float however on New Year’s Day he watched the parade pass by on television. Povilaitis gave his seat up to another, one who he said exemplifies the Glendale Police Dept.
The Army of Pink is a program of Glendale Adventist Medical Center that brings awareness and support for resources available to diagnose, treat and support those individuals living with breast cancer. The Army is comprised of influential people in the community. Votes and donations are made in each person’s name and the person with the most votes wins the prize; this year it was a seat on the city’s Rose Parade float.
Povilaitis gave his seat on the float to Jenny Lau, a GPD employee that has battled cancer. Lau was diagnosed with brain cancer several years ago. She battled it and has lived in remission until recently when it was found that the cancer returned. She is now readying herself for another fight.
“But no matter what [she is going through] she has always [continued] to volunteer and is at events like Cops for Kids,” Povilaitis said.
Lau’s service is impressive on its own, he said.
So for the Glendale float, Lau was on board to not only bring awareness of the need for cancer research and treatment, but also as a representative for the Glendale police.
“She exemplifies service before self,” he added.
Each entry in the parade has a story: The band that came from New Jersey whose members went through Hurricane Sandy, or those who faced financial odds to make it to the parade route. Then there was Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Pazz.
Pazz, dressed in camouflage, rode on the Natural Balance Pet Food “Canines with Courage” float. His wife, Miriam, and 4-year-old son were in the audience. They thought they were there because they had won a contest that would allow them to take a picture with a soldier on the float that would be sent to Pazz, who they thought was still serving in Afghanistan.
With cameras rolling, the mother and son walked out onto the boulevard and the soldier (Pazz) stepped off the float. As he came closer he took his helmet off, and the minute his young son recognized his dad, he went running to his arms.
Pazz was the big Rose Parade surprise. The family climbed onto the float, alongside the dogs that had served in the military, and finished the parade route as those who had just witnessed the reunion took out their tissues.
The city of La Cañada Flintridge received the Animation Award with an imaginative depiction of prehistoric times with a dinosaur, Smilodons (saber-tooth cat) and Pterodactyls. At 30,000 pounds, the float measured 10 feet wide, 48 feet long, and extends 23 feet high when the brontosaurus’ head is fully extended. The float was decorated with an estimated 32,300 flowers, including carnations, mums, roses and orchids.
But before the floats made their New Year’s debut on Colorado Boulevard, volunteers spent hundreds and hundreds of hours placing flowers and seeds to complete the designs. It’s their work that delighted an audience of millions anxious to see the places these floats would go.