News / Arts & Entertainment

Rose Bowl Floats Promote Brands, Causes

Rose Bowl Floats Promote Brands, Causesi
X
December 31, 2013 1:41 AM
Volunteers are decorating floats for the Rose Parade, which takes place January 1 in Pasadena, California. The parade also includes marching bands and precedes the Rose Bowl college football game, always held on New Year's Day. Mike O'Sullivan went behind the scenes to see the preparations for this annual tradition.
Mike O'Sullivan
Volunteers are busy decorating floats for the Rose Parade, which will take place January 1 in Pasadena, California.  Dozens of organizations and companies are ready to promote their causes and products with the rolling displays covered with petals, leaves and seeds.

One California warehouse is a sea of color, as volunteer decorators like Anita Vandervelden place flowers, seeds and other vegetation over each square centimeter of every parade float.

“A lot of work, but it's a lot of fun.  You get a job given to you and do you do it and move on to the next,” she said.

Volunteer Virginia Brownworth came all the way from Minnesota to help out.

“We work with seeds, we work with flowers, we work with glue, we work with pins, just a variety of materials,” she said.

For Meg Farrell, the parade provides a chance to tell the story of her mother, and of 1,000 other members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II.  The volunteers flew aircraft from base to base to free up male pilots for combat.

“We feel that putting a float in the Rose Parade is one way to get the message out that these women served our country and helped to successfully conclude the war,” Farrell said.

The aviation-theme float has flowers in the shape of 38 stars, in memory of the women who lost their lives in training or transport accidents.

Others also are using the Rose Parade to make a statement.  Gay couple Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair will celebrate their marriage atop a float shaped like a wedding cake, an entry sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

“This is the first same-sex marriage on top of a float in a Rose Bowl Parade,” Leclair said.

“In front of millions of people around the world, so it's exciting,” said Loots.

A non-profit group is promoting animal welfare and another will highlight the role of police dogs.  An entry from the SeaWorld amusement parks depicting orca whales has sparked some controversy, drawing protests from an animal welfare organization that alleges the parks abuse those sea creatures.

The Dole Food Company is promoting its brand of fruits and vegetables with a tropical-themed entry.  Dole executive Dave Spare says that for three years in a row, the company has had award-winning parade floats.

“The biggest prize in the parade is called the Sweepstakes Award.  It's for the most beautiful entry, and we've won it the last three years, and God willing, we'll win it again,” he said.

But there is more decorating to do, as the hours tick down to the start of the parade. On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of people will line the parade route, and tens of millions more will watch on television.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Graham Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – once for his work with The Hollies and once as part of Crosby, Stills & Nash. The legendary folk-rocker joins "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his latest project, “CSN 2012,” which captured on video recent live performances by Crosby, Stills & Nash.