By Charly SHELTON
The 2024 Rose Parade, a bacchanal of floral beauty, creative design and plant-covered characters, once again captivated viewers with its botanical masterpieces earlier this week as they rolled down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. Among the floats, the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association’s entry “Flower Power” was notable not just for its tie-dye design and anthropomorphic flower musicians, but also for the community spirit it embodied. This year’s float, part of a tradition dating back to 1978, was a culmination of thousands of volunteer hours, encapsulating the community’s dedication to artistry and innovation.
“We made it the whole way,” said Jennifer Lazzo, Decorating chair for the LCFTA, “both the [main float and the] satellite, which is the little mini bus that was on two electric skateboards. Let’s just say that there were a lot of questions about that one’s capability of making it the whole way and a lot of surprised faces when we drove into the Floatfest area on our own power.”
After the Rose Parade ended, all the floats were parked at Pasadena High School for Floatfest, an event in which the public can pay to get up close and personal with the floats for two days after the parade. But while all of the floats were available to see and take pictures of, the La Cañada float was more than a visual delight – it was an interactive experience. The Association welcomed guests onto the float for a unique opportunity – to pose for pictures and walk away with a rose plucked directly from the float. This gesture of sharing added a personal touch to the event, turning spectators into participants in this floral celebration.
The La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses parade float is a testament to the power of community. Entirely reliant on donations, every dollar raised goes toward materials and equipment, underscoring a collective commitment to not just building a float but nurturing a sense of community and shaping a future. Skills learned and shared during the float’s creation, from welding to project management, extend far beyond the parade, preparing volunteers for real-world opportunities.
“It’s a really fun float,” Lazzo said. “We’re very, very pleased. This is our first time ever winning the Golden State Award banner [for most outstanding depiction of life in California], so that was an exciting one for us.”
This weekend, the La Cañada float will be on display on Foothill Boulevard at Memorial Park in La Cañada for one last showing before it is dismantled for the season. This event offers a final chance to witness the community’s craftsmanship and to be part of a tradition that has been bringing joy and beauty to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses New Year’s Day Parade for decades.
“Saturday is our last big day,” Lazzo said. “Then we start the deconstruction process. We want to recycle as much as we can. We reuse all the vials every year; we’ll actually take them off, clean them out and use them again next year.”