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Saturday, 3 January, 2015 0:29 AM

Final preparations underway for the 126th Rose Parade in Pasadena

Watch for the parade to kick off on New Year's Day beginning at 8 a.m. LIVE on ABC, NBC and locally on KTLA 5 in Los Angeles


Cal Poly University's "Soaring Stories" float is the only one that was designed by a student.


by Jason Rzucidlo



PASADENA, Calif. -- Volunteers are working around the clock to put the final touches on the floats that you'll see in this year's 126th Rose Parade presented by Honda. Thousands of people flew in from all over the country to donate their time and efforts on the masterpieces.

"So far today, we have put some coconut on the book leafs, and now we're adding marigold to this trim," said volunteer Kelly Scatton from Lake Forest, Calif. "Earlier, we started by sorting out the stratus for the purple water. This is my second time volunteering. This year, I'm staying on the ground. I'm not going up on the scaffold."

Float viewing was expanded to five days this year at three different locations--Rosemont Pavilion, Brookside Pavilion and Rose Palace. Attendees were able to get up close and personal during the decorating process.

"I volunteered last week putting the dry beans on, but this is my first time doing the live flowers," said volunteer Paige McAdam from Thousand Oaks, Calif. "It has to be on the entire float. Everything has to be organic materials. There is beans and all of this sand looking stuff, ground rice. All of it has to be covered, every detail. A lot more intense then I thought it was. When you watch on TV, you don't see how much detail goes into them."

Inspiring Stories is this year's official parade theme. Olympian and World War II prisoner of war, Louis Zamperini, a true American hero who survived excessive hardships will be the Grand Marshal for the 2015 Rose Parade. He will be honored posthumously.

"Floats are judged by the 30th and 31st," said Jim Zeutzius, chairman of the Decorating Places committee. "By one or two o'clock, the floats are on the streets waiting for the judges to come by and do their final judging. We've always been America's New Year's celebration. If you're around, come on out and view the floats."

This year’s Rose Queen is Madison Tripett and the Royal Court is Bergen Onufer, Simona Shao, Gabrielle Current, Mackenzie Byers, Veronica Mejia and Emily Stoker.

"I've been volunteering here for two years, seven years with Sierra Madre floats," said Susie Fundter from Pasadena, Calif. "I really like it, it's fun. I have my 14-year-old son also here volunteering, it's his second year. Total, he's done seven years. My daughter just turned 13 on Christmas Eve and she's been volunteering since she was six. It's just something that's our tradition and we come back every year. You feel a lot of sense of community when you see the float coming down and saying, 'I did that little piece' and it's very exciting."

The 2015 Donate Life Rose Parade float is titled The Never Ending Story. It will feature 60 beautiful butterflies -- one for each life that can be transformed by a single deceased donor from an open book. Seated among thousands of dedicated roses are 30 rides representing transplant recipients who celebrate the new chapters of their lives made possible only by the generosity of donors. Walking alongside the float are 12 living organ donors whose stories have become intertwined with those of their recipients.

"We like the parade and the warm weather," said volunteer Charles Plymale from Whitehouse, Ohio. "Last year, it was 20 below and when we were out here it was 60. That makes a difference. I started going to the parade in 1997. It's equivalent of picking fly specs out of pepper. We're picking the bad stuff out of the flowers before it goes into the grinder."

Actor Jack Black and his teacher, Debbie Debine, will ride atop the Farmers Insurance float titled a Dream Big: World of Possibility. It will honor teachers across the country for the endless dreams and possibilities they inspire within students on a daily basis. Other winning teachers who will also ride on the float include: Melissa Hunt from IT Stoddard Elementary in Blackfood, Idaho; Cindy Ferek from Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater, Va.; Maggie Kendell from the Chicago School for Agricultural Sciences in Chicago; Brenda Moynihan from C.T. Sewell Elementary in Henderson, Nev.; Justin Minkel and Amber Stout from Jones Elementary in Springdale, Ark.

"I'm blending up these flowers so they can use it," said volunteer Miles Miyagishima from Torrance, Calif. "I don't know what for, but this is pretty much the job that they gave me. I guess if you want it blended up in a fine matter, you gotta."

The original cast of "The Love Boat" reunited to decorate the Princess Cruise float titled 50 Years of Inspiring Travel. In addition, they will ride on the float during the New Year's Day tradition. Of those in attendance will be Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Chief Purser Gopher), Ted Lange (Bartender Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lawrence Tewes (Cruise Director Julie) and Jill Whelan (Captain's daughter Vicki). The float will include iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, the leaning tower of Pisa, a traditional Japanese pagoda, the Golden Gate Bridge and much more.

"We're actually with the UNL (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) Horticulture Club so we're doing something different this year," said volunteer Melinda Knuth from Hartford, S.D. "We're trimming all of the little branches off this tree so we can put them together on the table and then put it on the bonsai tree on the other side of the float. My major is horticulture so I'm definitely interested in cut flowers and the cut flower industry. It's something related to what I want to do in the future."

"I'm just helping decorate floats and spending good time with the family," said volunteer Jose Carrillo from Baldwin Park, Calif. "My son is also over there working. I'm putting the glue on and then the straw flower."

The Cal Poly Universities' 2015 Rose Parade float is titled Soaring Stories. It depicts a fairy-tale castle and mythological griffin springing to life from the pages of storybooks. The float features photovoltaic panels, which will animate the flag's and the castle's three highest towers. In addition, the rear part of the float will have a wall of living flowers that uses the full plant instead of the cut flowers that traditionally adorn Rose Parade floats. It is the only student-designed and built float in the New Year's Day tradition.

"I am a recent graduate of Cal Poly Pomona," said volunteer Bethany Weber from Fallbrook, Calif. "I was a committee member last year. Right now, we're decorating this foam crest with marigold, dill and straw flower."

Kiwanis International's Rose Parade float is named 100 Years Inspiring Children. It coincides with the non-profit organization's 100th anniversary. More than 7,000 adults and high school youth put in 56,000 hours to make several Rose Parade floats come to life. Of those riding on the float, the Kiwanis International President; Circle K, Key Club and KIWIN'S Governors; and representatives of Special Olympics and Children's Hospital. Contributions from individuals, Kiwanis clubs, and divisions sponsor the riders. Many distinguished Kiwanians have had the opportunity to ride past floats, help with the decorating of the float and the promotion of Kiwanis as part of a Rose Parade experience.

"One hundred years ago, a group of men got together and started doing community service," said Steven Hadt, director for the office of the president at Kiwanis International. "They started doing that in Detroit and since then, we've grown into an international organization with more than 600,000 members in 80 countries around the world. It is a giant birthday cake and once we come around the corner on Colorado Boulevard, there's going to be a huge confetti blast, so make sure you look for that."

The Lions Clubs International 2015 Rose Parade float is titled Inspiring Challenges. Five recreational activities will make up the float, which include the types of support sponsored by the members of Lions clubs worldwide for the blind and visually impaired for overcoming their challenging situations. Those will include Blind Fishing Derby (North Carolina), Blind Surfing (Encinitas, Calif.), Blind Buddies Golf Challenge (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Blind Bicycling (Antelope, Calif.) and the Miracle League Blind Beep Baseball (Moody, Alabama).

"We're separating the red lentils to go on the head of the stork back there," said volunteer Salwa Abadeor from Riverside, Calif. "My son he's cutting the flower. The ladies are using their credit card to separate the good stuff from the bad stuff."

Watch for the parade to kick off on New Year's Day beginning at 8 a.m. LIVE on ABC, NBC and locally on KTLA 5 in Los Angeles. The parade will be followed by the Rose Bowl Game playoff semifinal, which will feature a matchup between Oregon and Florida State. The game will kickoff at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN.

"We started 17 years ago with our one and only trip to L.A. to do the parade," said volunteer Paul Taylor from Portland, Maine. "My wife's very crafty. We were here for half and hour and knew we were coming back. It just keeps bringing us back. We now have a host of friends we've made over 17 years that is important as the parade is to us now. Today, I've been working on black beans. This is the lead float for the parade. The black beans each have to be put in individually with a sticky glue type of material. The little black bean has a dot and that can't show."

Fans will have one last chance to get up close and personal with this year's floats. MiracleGro is sponsoring "A Showcase of Floats" on Jan. 1 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and again on Jan. 2 and 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the end of the parade route on Sierra Madre Boulevard. Tickets are $10 and are free for children five and under.

For more information about the 126th Rose Parade Parade, visit

Related Stories: PHOTOS: 126th Rose Parade Float Decorating activities in Pasadena, CA; Last-minute preparations underway for 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena; Final Preparations Underway for the 123rd Rose Parade in Pasadena; WATCH: Volunteers are putting the Final Touches on the Floats for 123rd Rose Parade




Actor Neil Flynn from "The Middle" receives a tour of the float decorating process



Volunteer Kelly Scatton from Lake Forest, Calif. adds marigold to the trim (pictured right)



The Singpoli Group's "Bright Future" float



Volunteer Melinda Knuth from Hartford, S.D. trims branches off of a fir tree.



Side view of the "Service with a Smile" float from


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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer.