By Ted AYALA
On Tuesday night Glendale City Council approved a contract with Phoenix Decorating Company, paving the way for Glendale’s return to the Tournament of Roses Parade in 2016.
The contract with Pasadena-based Phoenix is not to exceed $190,000 and includes a 5% contingency fee.
Council on May 5 had appropriated $200,000 for the Rose float, instructing the Glendale Rose Float Assn. to raise at least $50,000 to offset the costs.
City staff had been urging the council to approve the contract, saying that they were working with a “tight deadline” looming over the project at the end of the month.
Glendale, which had an unbroken 100-year history of participation in the Tournament of Roses, was forced to sit out the 2015 parade. The lingering economic downturn hit the funding for the Rose float hard last year. Donations for the 2015 entry had fallen far below goals. Glendale City Council meanwhile, wary of increased spending, declined to appropriate funds for the project. Expenditures on float construction had typically exceeded $100,000 in recent years.
Glendale also suffered a public relations blow in 2013 when a float design approved for the 2014 parade was seen by animal rights activists as tacitly approving violence to animals. That design was hastily scrapped in favor of one that prominently featured Meatball the Bear rummaging through a trashcan. The 2014 float won the Governor’s Trophy for Best Depiction of Life in California.
“Has this [float] been vetted through the PC committee?” Mayor Ara J. Najarian asked about the proposed design, in a veiled reference to the 2014 float fracas.
The theme of the 2016 float is, “Getting There is Half the Fun,” which fits in with the parade’s theme of “Find Your Adventure.” The design displays the Larry Zarian Transportation Center as well as a number of Glendale’s other historical transportation buildings, followed by fields of hibiscus – the city’s official flower. At the front is the city bird, the peacock, leading the way with the city seal decorating its plumage.
Chris Lofthouse of Phoenix told the council that the float would be the largest in Glendale’s recent history. According to their design, the float would be 55 ft. long, 24 ft. tall, and 18 ft. wide. It will also feature animated components.
The design under review had previously been approved by the Glendale Parks Commission.
Matthew Leum, vice-president of the Glendale Rose Float Assn., said that his group had so far been able to gather $4,500 in donations since they started fundraising four weeks ago. All of the donations gathered so far, he added, were from private individuals. He said that the association is scheduled to speak soon with Whole Foods, The Americana at Brand, the Glendale Galleria, Glendale Memorial and Glendale Adventist hospitals, among others, in its search for corporate sponsorships.
“This is going to be a wonderful presentation for the parade,” Lofthouse later said of the proposed float design.