Deco Week

As mentioned on the pages for our first two floats, Deco Week is when the majority of the floral material is applied to the float. Dry material can go on during the year as sections of the float or props are finished, but the real emphasis every year is on the fresh flowers, which need to be put on at the last possible minute to stay as crisp and colorful as possible. It's all very noisy and chaotic, but carefully choreographed to keep the crews out of each other's way.

Bill, Garry Marshall, and Carol

Garry Marshall came by several times as the float was being built and decorated. He was an absolute delight to work with and funnier than hell. When he was told we had designed the float he made it a point to spend some quality time with us, telling us just how special this was to him. The feeling was mutual.

Carol decorating the float

Here Carol is applying some of the dry material to the float. The basic technique for this work is put glue on the float, let it get tacky, pour the dry material on, let the glue dry enough to hold it, then brush off the excess material and repeat until finished. It's tedious work and sticky, but an essential part of the project.

Decorating the back-stage area

Here she's doing the same type of work on the back-stage section at the rear of the float. This was one of the areas I had built during the prior months. Happily my mistakes would all be covered from view.

For this area, we used lines of glue covered in coffee grounds to simulate wooden planks. A local Starbucks donated the used grounds which we dried out and then brushed on the plywood. Tree bark was then laid in-between the coffee lines to complete the illusion of a wooden floor.

I didn't leave poor Carol to do all this on her own. This was taken during a much needed break for my poor knees. I soon learned the value of having a nice comfortable pad or pillow to work on.

Roses in buckets

One of the nice things about Deco Week is the wild profusion of shapes, colors, and scents as the flowers arrive. Here just part of the floral order for the year is in buckets waiting to be prepped and applied. The colored flags alert the various teams where to find the flowers that have been re-designated for their area. You need to stay on model and can't just go in and help yourself to something that might look nice.


Putting a heroic cowboy on a happy horse may sound easy but there were actually several parts to the project. Here the horse is being lifted onto the float after it was decorated off the float and out of the way. Next the cowboy would be lifted and placed on the horse. Oh, and just to complicate things a bit more, his head was done apart from his body.


Happily all the pieces of our elaborate jigsaw puzzle fit together as planned (a large hammer works wonders at times.) Our hero and his trusty steed look pretty good, don't they?

As the week went on we kept watching the clock, getting ready for the always nerve wracking arrival of the judges.

More about the design and building of the float