Burbank Tournament of Roses Float Wins Mayor Award at 133rd Annual Rose Parade

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(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

A float crafted by Burbank Tournament of Roses Association won the Mayor Award for the 133rd annual Rose Parade on January 1, 2022.

This honor is bestowed upon the most outstanding float from a participating city each year. The theme of the float is “An Unlikely Tale,” with a design used from a submission by Burbank resident Jonathan Friday. The float depicts a large green dragon sitting with a young knight as the two read a book together. This design celebrates the theme of the parade, which is “Dream. Believe. Achieve.,” in honor of education. 

The float was made by the BTORA Decorations Committee and a group of volunteers, including a core construction crew of half a dozen people who have worked arduously on the project since early 2021. The crew used 1,500 pounds of split peas to build the vibrant green skin of the float’s dragon, along with authentic flowers to further embellish the design. 

This year’s Tournament of Roses Judges look over this year’s entry prior to the parade. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Once the 2021 Rose Parade was canceled, work on the float ceased, but briefly resumed in the fall of 2020 as the parade was moved to 2022. The process was again paused when the pandemic worsened, which was challenging for participants to experience during what is normally a very productive time for the float team. BTORA Float Vice President Steven Edward says that being able to include the float in the 2021 celebration is meaningful to the crew after their strong dedication throughout this always-evolving process. 

“This was especially difficult for all of us to see our float site empty in December of 2020, which is our busiest time of year—no one was at the float site,” Edward said. “We started to slowly come back around February 2021 and … resume building the float until we finished it this week.”

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The days leading up to the New Year parade, December 26 to December 31, are known as deco week for the float team. This year, Edward says the number of volunteers who took part in their busy final decoration week was much lower than the typical amount of responses they receive. In addition, another setback the crew had to overcome was obtaining enough materials to decorate the float.

“We were caught off guard [by] our lack of volunteers that showed up,” Edward said before adding, “We had several challenges with getting fresh flowers—their sizes were smaller than previous floats, and prices greatly increased.”  

Despite these difficulties, the float was successfully completed in time for evaluations from official parade judges. These inspectors made two five-minute visits to analyze the float, during which they learned more about how it fits the parade theme, as well as details of the decorating material used to bring the float to life. The float’s Mayor Award win was announced in the early morning hours of January 1 prior to the parade.

Photo by © Ross A Benson

Edward expressed the gratitude of all crew members who put in many hours to create a one-of-a-kind float that has made locals feel joyful to begin a new year.

“We are grateful for any award that we may win, but really we want to put on the most crowd-pleasing entertaining float possible,” Edward said.

For anyone not attending the parade, the float will be on display in Burbank from January 3 to January 5 at the corner of Olive and Glenoaks.

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