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Sunday, June 05, 2011

Rose Festival Float Tour

One of the teachers in Ana's school is a veteran float decorator with 25 years experience. She offered a tour of the floats being made for this year's Rose Festival Parade. Ana and I were there along with a few other kids (and parents) from the school. This is our first behind-the-scenes look at the preparation. I've read about it and had some idea but it was wonderful to see it all in person.

One thing that stuck in my head is the requirement that the floats must be covered by natural materials. The materials can be dyed to match the colors in the design. So anything from polenta, dry grated coconut, straw flowers, rice, beans, grains, to dry grass and moss are used to get the desired effect.

Designers design the float.

Craftsmen make the float based on scaled models built from the design using metal, meshing and other staples. Then, it is covered in burlap and painted.


Rice and seeds up close on a partially decorated float.

Polenta-covered lanterns.

Electric vehicle float: Astoria, OR.

Cotton being carded for use in float decoration.

Horse float seemed to be the top favorite with Ana.

Sea Serpent float tied with the Mardi Gras float for the second place.

Some close-up detail work.

As a fantastic finale kids got to decorate a part of the rear of the Horses float: paint on some glue and press some moss on the green parts.

And sit in the driver's seat!

We won't be able to watch the parade live, but, when we see pictures of it, I am sure we'll smile a quiet smile trying to locate the exact spot we covered with moss.

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