La Cañada Flintridge, your “Backyard Rocketeer” is almost ready for lift-off, revved up and ready to blast forth from “under the bridge” en route to the 5.5-mile Jan. 2 trek down Colorado Boulevard. (Per the “Never on Sunday” rule harkening back to the 19th century, the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl will be staged Monday because Jan. 1 falls on Sunday.)
For the 39th consecutive year, the LCF Tournament of Roses Association will enter a float in the Rose Parade. The submission is a result of volunteers and community members donating about 45,000 hours and more than $100,000 to make it a reality.
This year’s whimsical, colorful entry, “Backyard Rocketeer,” tells the story of a young LCF resident who has been inspired by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory up the street from his home. The boy uses items found in his family’s backyard to build a rocket ship that takes him and his dog on an exploratory mission to outer space.
The float will check in at 16 feet wide, 52 feet long and 26 feet high, complete with moving parts.
By the end of “deco week” in the Flintridge Prep parking lot, it will be covered with 30,000 roses, 5,000 orchids, 2,000 carnations, 2,000 camellia leaves, 1,500 mums and a host of other flowers, fruits and vegetables. That includes the cranberry mix Shannon Rodick was using to cover the inside of the friendly alien’s mouth.
It’s the sixth consecutive year she has helped out with the float, Rodick said.
“When I started, I was just trying to fill community service hours [for school],” she said. “But then I realized it’s a lot of fun and something I could do to give back to the community.”
For each of the past five years, LCF’s float has been recognized with a trophy by the Tournament of Roses. Last year’s entry, “Up a Creek…” was one of only six self-built floats in the parade, and it took home the Bob Hope Humor Trophy as the parade’s most comical and amusing entry.
It was the 27th trophy for the all-volunteer LCFTRA, which continues to attract enthusiastic support for the largest community activity in the city.