Rose Parade floats – together with these from Disney and Irvine – are powered by voluntary power – Orange County Register

Joan Deleskiewicz huddled with other volunteers and meticulously cut dark purple Statice flowers from their long stems.

Nearby, Chris Buck, director of the hit film Frozen, knelt down to paint the floorboards. Others in Azusa camp stood on ladders and scaffolding, carrying boxes of pumpkin seeds and other plant matter, and glued feverishly so that Disneyland’s 150-foot float would make its grand entrance at the 127th annual Rose Parade by Friday morning.

In the weeks and then just days, and now the final hours before the parade, volunteers who want to be part of the News Year’s Day tradition work long shifts doing whatever it takes to get the floats ready.

While most Rose Parade floats are built entirely by professionals – and the electronics and mechanics of all modern floats are made by professionals – some floats are still largely completed and decorated by volunteers.

“It’s just a small box, but I’ll be calling all of my friends to let them know I cut the flowers for it,” said Deleskiewicz, 47, of Garden Grove, referring to the box of petals that add some color Section of the swimmer known as the Disneyland Diamond Celebration – Awaken Your Adventure. ”

“It’s fascinating to be a part of it.”

Preparing the massive floats for their public appearance takes a mix of time and volunteers, said Chris Paulson, press secretary for Phoenix Decorating, a float construction and marketing company that helped design the Irvine City’s 55-foot float. 18 feet wide and 25 feet high.

Free work seems to be popular, at least when that work is tied to the Rose Parade. Paulson said more than 700 volunteers per day have signed up this season to decorate the floats at Phoenix Decorating’s Pasadena location. Some started at 8 a.m., others stayed until 11 p.m.

A few hundred thousand people usually watch the parade live in Pasadena, and another ten million tune into television. This year’s Grand Marshal is documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. It is followed by 44 carriages, 20 brass bands and 400 horses. This year’s theme is “Find Your Adventure”.

Not all float work can be done by volunteers.

For example, artificial snow falls on Disney’s car around an ice castle with Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Olaf the snowman and other “frozen” characters. In the center, Mickey, Minnie, and other Disney icons wave from a Sleeping Beauty’s castle that’s littered with plant material that looks like diamonds. And the fans get a glimpse into the “Star Wars” land planned for Disneyland, in which the Millennium Falcon flies overhead and Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and Storm Troopers from the film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” march around the car .

At one point (around 9 a.m. when you’re watching on TV) more than 100 performers will emerge from Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and fireworks will be fired from the float.

Much of this requires expert engineering and design.

But while Disney Rose Parade is using buzz (and its tech skills) to overdo its brand, the City of Irvine is doing the same thing to overdo itself, just like other float sponsors – the California Milk Advisory Board, the Lakers, a group called South Dakota Tourism – hype yourself.

Known as Innovation Rocks, the car is sponsored by Destination Irvine, the tourism arm of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.

In reference to the 50th anniversary of UC Irvine, the Irvine car shows the school’s mascot, Peter the Anteater, in a lab coat. He is surrounded by a series of bladder-spitting mugs, a helix, and animated gears.

“We would like to believe that the float will be a focal point of pride and build Irvine’s reputation around the world,” said Linda DiMario, vice president of economic development for the chamber.

“We are known as one of the safest cities in America. But there is also a tremendous amount of science, technology and innovation coming from the city … We want to celebrate that. “

DiMario said the Irvine car was $ 200,000, with the city’s 16 hotels paying the bill. Disney has not disclosed the cost of its swimmer. Irvine’s car will be on TV at 8:50 a.m.

This week Elicia Hernandez, a junior at Anaheim Western High School, and other teenagers volunteered to garnish the Irvine Float.

As she placed flowers – the floats must be covered in natural materials for the parade – Hernandez pondered the design tip she’d received as a volunteer for the rose parade.

“It’s the little details that help make the swimmer beautiful.”

Beatrice Castruita from Hacienda Heights took a break from her work on the “Frozen” float. After five years as a volunteer, she noticed that “there is camaraderie among volunteers”.

“I love it,” said the 69-year-old.

“You meet so many different people … It’s inspiring to see the work behind the scenes and see what you did on the parade route down Colorado Boulevard.”

Contact the author: 714-704-3764 or [email protected] or follow on Twitter @OCDisney

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