1st Judging

It was getting close to parade day! The next step in the process of getting ready for it was to take the float outside for the 1st Judging. Luckily the barn is right near a train station so we were able to set it up there for the judges. At this stage some of the dry material has been applied, but as the pictures will show, there was still a good amount of work that needed to be done. The live flowers would be applied after the dry material was in place. A few bits of live material were put on to help the judges visualize the completed float.

Float in the parking lot

December 30 was gray and gloomy. Once again there was talk of rain on parade day! We weren't going to worry it then, though. All thoughts were on the upcoming visit from the judges. You don't do a float just to win an award, but getting one does make it easier to ask for money for the next year.

That's the Burbank Department of Water & Power on the left, making the day look gloomier than it really was.

Man and beer

Our beer loving friend looks happy as he watches his stein being refilled.


This squirrel has come quite a way since we last saw him. You can see how the different materials all combine to give him a rich variety of textures and colors.

Carol and judges

As the Deco Chair, Carol had the privilege of taking the judges for a tour of the float and explaining some of the design elements we wanted to make sure they noticed. She did a great job, with one judge mentioning that she obviously knew her floral selections quite well.

Driver area

After the judges left the float went back into the barn so more floral work could be done. The deadline for completion was coming at us like a runaway train.

Ever wonder what the driver's area looks like? Well, wonder no more. This is looking at the driver's seat from the left side of the float. The front would be on the left. As you can see the driver doesn't have a clear view outside, which is why the observer role is so important. How, them does the driver steer this massive float along the parade route?

The answer is very low tech. There's a painted line down the middle of the street all along the parade route. The driver looks down through a hole in the floor and follows that line! I've never tried it but imagine it's a very difficult task to do for several hours.

Floral arch

At this point the float really starts coming to life as the live flowers add so much to it. Compare this view with the flowers on the arch to the first one on this page as an example of how much can change in just a few hours.

Adding roses

Finally, roses start going on the float. This is actually quite an involved process. First, all of the thorns are stripped off and the stems are cut to per-determined lengths. The roses are then put in a vial of water to keep them fresh through the parade. If a vial will go into the float at an angle it has to be sealed so the water doesn't run out.

Next, holes need to be punched through the hard foam material so the vials can be inserted. As you might imagine that can be tiring work after a while. The holes need to be far enough apart to allow the roses to open a bit, but not too far or the area will look sparse and unappealing.

Cuckoo and pretzel

Our little bird looks ready for prime time! And while the pretzel was a lot smaller than in our first concept art, it would be on the float on the man's table. Here "salt" is being applied to the pretzel. No detail was overlooked. We hope.

The proud designers

Three tired but very happy designers after a long day. Before we headed home that night Carol, Stacia, and I got together for a picture on the float stage.

Work would continue throughout the night. The float would look quite different the next time the judges saw it.

More about the design and building of the float