The Hermosa Beach Kiwanis Club recruited more than 200 students from the South Bay and surrounding areas to participate in decorating this year’s Rose Bowl parade floats.
“It’s the greatest thing,” said Pat Love, the Hermosa Beach Kiwanis Club President. “The camaraderie of everyone going there [to Pasadena] from all over the nation and different parts of the world… There is not a job the Kiwanis do not do, many people look forward to this.”
This year’s Kiwanis float was themed, “A Child’s Magic Carpet Ride,” and featured a carpet with a genie’s bottle in the middle. Decorating the floats begins the first weekend in December and volunteers scramble with decorating the intricate works of moving art until the morning of the parade, on January 1.
The floats are decorated with flowers, seeds, fruits and vegetables, leaves, beans and almost anything imaginable that can be glued or wired together.
“I helped decorate the Korean War float,” said Chuck Burley, 66. “It had a flag on it, so we used buds of red and white carnations for that. We also decorated the soldier’s helmets and robes with long silver leaves. You had to put the glue on the top side of the leaf and transferred them in a box and sent it up the scaffolding. The kids on the top would put it on the helmets and robes, so when the sun shines on it, it looks like silver.”
The Phoenix Decorating Company worked closely with the club to coordinate more than 7,000 volunteers to help decorate eleven parade floats at the Phoenix Rosemount Pavilion in Pasadena. Students from Mira Costa and Redondo Union High School were among the many volunteers.
“It’s a fun event and the energy is so magnetic because everyone’s just so happy,” said Love. “You can’t help but be energized, it’s just great.”
The Kiwanis Club pitched in to help decorate ten other floats that were in the pavilion including the Trader Joe’s, Honda and Rotary Club floats. Because of their help, they were awarded with the Tournament Volunteers’ Award.
“It was very exciting and the kids were wonderful,” said Burley. “It was enjoyable to see them climb up the scaffolding… the Kiwanis gave us all t-shirts so there was just a sea of blue in the warehouse… I decorated on the ground, and when I got home I felt like I was run over by a Mack truck. I really enjoyed it and I plan on helping next year also.” ER