Guest Writer: The Decorating of the Rotary International Float

The Decorating of the Rotary International FloatThe Decorating of the Rotary International FloatThe Decorating of the Rotary International FloatThe Decorating of the Rotary International FloatThe Decorating of the Rotary International Float

By KENNETH STICKNEY, Pasadena Rotary Club

5:42 pm | December 30, 2016


Christmas and New Year’s Eve is all about tradition, especially in the city of Pasadena. I wanted to be a part of Pasadena’s traditions in every way. I have been to the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl many times but I have never helped decorate a parade float before.

Every year since 1980, Rotary International has had a float in the Rose Parade and this year is the RI Foundation 100 year anniversary. As a Pasadena Rotarian it was time to check this off my bucket list. Volunteers from all over the country come to decorate the floats. For our float, we had a 10 day build schedule starting in December, with many days having two shifts. I put together a group of 14 club members and their friends. We picked a date and got on the schedule for Dec 28th 4 to 11 p.m. shift.

On our appointed day our group met at the Rotary check in tent near the Rose Bowl Phoenix float build center where we were all given yellow Rotary T-shirts. It turned out 75 Rotary volunteers showed up for this shift. That’s a lot of yellow T-shirts! Ages ranged from 13 years old to retirement. There were Rotarians from North Carolina, San Francisco, La Jolla, Redlands, North Hollywood, Covina and Pasadena. Just on our shift! The build site must have had at least eight floats in different stages of completion. There were so many Rotarians we of course offered to help others with their floats. Yellow shirts were working everywhere.

Some of our group was assigned to trim purple petals from very small flowers. Some were assigned to climb up on scaffolding to work on the float. You might find yourself gluing bark or leaves to a section 15 feet in the air or crawling into a small space where only a little 13 year can get into. A large group was assigned to glue rice, seeds and beans to the Rotary International Foundation sign. By using white rice for the background, yellow seeds and beans for the Rotary gear and those purplish petals for the Rotary name, you get a beautiful banner.

At the end of the night all of us had a wonderful time. I learned new skills, met new people and made new friends. What a wonderful experience to share with my club and friends. Maybe I will make this a new tradition for me.

Happy New Year!!
Kenneth G. Stickney