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Sierra Madre Rose Float Well Under Way, Presentations Made to City Council  

Tuesday, 6/13/06

The first Sierra Madre entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade took place way back in 1917, and since then the floats have run the gamut, sometimes simple, sometimes not so simple.  But Sierra Madre’s float is one of only six remaining self-built floats in the annual extravaganza.  In other words, Sierra Madre builds it, it doesn’t contract out to a corporation created for the purpose of building floats.  At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Jeff Throop of the Tournament of Roses Assn. presented to the City Council a framed photo of last year’s float as it meandered down the parade route.  The float, designed by Charles Meier, was named “Wonder of Reading” and was the winner of the Founder’s Banner Trophy, the city’s first award for a float in 20 years, and its fourth overall.  Throop is a long-time Sierra Madrean, and son of this year’s Older American of the Year from Sierra Madre, George Throop.  He is scheduled to be president of the Tournament of Roses Association in 2011.  Also, at the Council meeting, Sierra Madre Rose Float Association (SMRFA) president Robert Young displayed a rendering of next year’s float.  2007 is the centennial year for the incorporation of the City of Sierra Madre, and next year’s float reflects that by honoring some of the things for which Sierra Madre is best known.  The city’s world-famous Wistaria vine, which is the centerpiece each year of a one day festival that draws thousands to the foothill village, is one of the landmarks.  The vine is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest blossoming plant in the world.  This year’s float will feature, in addition to the Wistaria, hummingbirds hovering around the vine, and multiple waterfalls.  While the SMRFA float is best known for its participation in the Tournament of Roses parade, it actually is also displayed each year in a second parade, the Sierra Madre Fourth of July parade.  According to those in the know, the chassis is being fitted with its customary floral and seating adaptations and is already sporting the tall flags displayed in past years.  She's starting to look like a Fourth of July parade entry again.  As for the January 1st preparations, the engine, pump and generator are all in and only lack some belts, a couple linkages and a couple hoses to be up and running.  The governor for it is next to be cobbled up and its controls are in and waiting.  As for the audio set of the float - the electronics to power the set from either the generator or its dedicated shore line are in.  All the audio wiring is in and fully rain shielded.  It's good to go for the parades.  R&D work on the Wistaria clusters has now turned the corner into production pieces and the SMRFA says they look great.  They've also begun test welding on the hummingbird designs.  Long-time volunteer Mike Moran is shaping the first one out and SMRFA hopes to bring it along for the 4th as well.  The barn's regular open schedule for volunteers will be Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 pm and Sundays from 10:00 am.  The Wednesday addition will begin the 21st of June.  All volunteers are welcome and invited.  There will also still be activity at the barn on Sundays from 10 a.m. to at least 5 p.m..  The Decoration Committee will be preparing flower holders for the Wistaria blooms (lots of them).  That and preparing dry material for the float will give volunteers plenty of things to do.  Residents are invited to stop by and help when they can.  SMRFA will be conducting fundraising activities during the 4th of July festivities, and you can help.  Activities commence at 4pm, July 3rd, with their annual Food Booth at Memorial Park, and will continue after the parade on the 4th.  They will be selling hamburgers/cheese burgers, chips, ice cream and soft drinks/water.  In addition and importantly, they will be selling long-stem roses along the parade route.  Bring some extra “ones” in your pocket to donate for flowers, and help fund this year’s float.

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