Many months after began this journey it was finally show time! On the way over to Pasadena we got a call letting us know the float had won the Fantasy Award for "Most outstanding display of fantasy and imagination." It seemed the judges not only enjoyed the float overall but had been especially impressed with Carol's idea of creating railroad ties out of roses. Everyone on the Burbank team was thrilled that the float had been so well received.
One of the benefits of coming up with a winning design is that you get two VIP tickets in the bleachers just below most of the TV cameras. It gets pretty chilly at first sitting on those metal benches but as the crowd fills in you start to get more comfortable. Until you realize they pack everyone in so tight you couldn't slide a piece of paper between you and whoever is next to you. All of the bulky jackets for the cold don't help. It's still all worth it to see the parade in person.
And here it is! It's always a thrill to see the float come into view.
When the parade was about to start my main camera decided to die, so I had to make due with shots from my cell phone.
The crowd seemed to enjoy the float, cheering as it passed by. Garry Marshall was in fine form, yelling all sorts of stage directions to the audience. He sure looked like he was having a ball.
I think Garry was asking the crowd if anyone wanted to become a movie star. From the number of raised hands I think he had plenty of volunteers.
Then, suddenly and sadly, the float passed out of view down the parade route. Not a problem, really, as the rest of the parade is always wonderful. Not so wonderful is having to follow thousands of others back to the parking garage to find your car and then try to head home at the same time they do. Still, despite any hassles, it's an incredible experience, and even better than when I watched it on the TV growing up in New York.
One other bit of fun that day - my now-dead camera was in cahoots with our car as that battery also died when we got back to the garage and tried to get home. The poor auto club driver bringing a new battery had to fight his way into the parking garage going against traffic like a salmon making its way upstream. We finally made it home but it had been a longer morning than expected for sure.