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Union Station Homeless Services gets its first-ever float in the Rose Parade

Published on Friday, December 29, 2023 | 6:30 am

Days before scores of floats move into position to move 5.5 miles east on Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day Monday, January 1, they are taking shape in Locations all over the San Gabriel Valley.

For Union Station Homeless Services, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, this year is the debut of their first float ever. 

At the AES Float Barn at Rosemont Pavilion, dozens of volunteers were gluing lentils, beans and grains to the surfaces of their debut float, “Bee the Solution to Ending Homelessness.”

As Communications Director Brenda Lynch explained to us Thursday, standing just outside the massive float warehouse, “This is our 50th anniversary and it takes off on our tagline, which is ‘Be the solution..,’ but now instead of “Be,’ it’s ‘Bee.’ And we have wind and  whimsical musical bees. We have a beehive. We have an amazingly gorgeous float for the very first time.” 

Specifically, the display sits in a field of pink and white roses, while the bees are crafted from safflower, ti leaf, black onion seeds, and fresh yellow button mums.

The 55-foot float also features a huge beehive in the back, along with  musical bees that are playing instruments, like trumpets, and there are, of course, flowers. 

“We also have a super cute bee who has a hammer and his little sign, saying, “Home, Sweet Hive,” said Lynch.

Lynch explained that the idea of having a float in the parade is that, “It’s all about how can we start conversations on New Year’s Day about the issue of homelessness, which is here in Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley, and across the nation. It’s even international.”

Lynch also explained that the float came to Union Station by way of a generous anonymous local organization, who donated the basic frame for Union Station and its hundreds of volunteers, to decorate it accordingly.

“We are so excited,” she said. “This is an opportunity for thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, 40 million people around the world, to be able to see our float, and to have a discussion with their family and friends about solutions to ending homelessness.”

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