Burbank to continue working on 2021 Rose Parade float

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in businesses changing their operations or shuttering, events being postponed or canceled and has forced people to stay indoors to weather the threat.

The Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.'s 2020 Rose Parade float travels down Colorado Boulevard during this year’s event on New Year’s Day. The volunteer-run organization is moving forward with its 2021 float amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.’s 2020 Rose Parade float travels down Colorado Boulevard during this year’s event on New Year’s Day. The volunteer-run organization is moving forward with its 2021 float amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While it might be some time until the public can go outside in large groups, officials with the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. are hoping to give people some entertainment at the start of the new year.

The volunteer-run organization recently completed a line drawing of its float, tentatively titled, “An Unlikely Tale,” in which a child dressed in armor is reading a book alongside a dragon. A final rendering is expected to be completed sometime next month.

The theme of the 2021 Rose Parade is “Dream. Believe. Achieve” and is aimed at celebrating education.

Linda Cozakos, president of the Burbank association, said she and other members have had to adapt to the times and have contacted one another via video conferences or phone calls to continue the planning process.

“We’re definitely trying to stay on track and focused as much as possible,” she said.

Aside from getting all the logistics in order, Cozakos said there’s still some deconstructing left to do on the organization’s 2020 float, which won the Leishman Public Spirit Award for the most outstanding floral presentation from a non-commercial float builder.

Getting that task done has been a bit of a hurdle since the association opted to close the float site, located at 123 W. Olive Ave., in late March due to the pandemic.

Cozakos said a protection plan will be implemented — having gloves and masks available as well as reducing the number of volunteers who can work at the site at the same time — when the shelter-in-place orders are lifted.

In the meantime, association members and other longtime volunteers have brought home work from the float site, such as breaking down natural materials that will be used for decorations, while they are quarantined at home, Cozakos said.

“We’re hoping to set a date when we can all meet up and get the ball rolling again,” she said. “At the float [site], we’re all family and our family’s been away from each other for too long.”

While the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. and other float builders move forward with their entries, so too are the officials with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn.

David Eads, chief executive of the Pasadena organization, said that unless told otherwise, the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game are scheduled to be held on New Year’s Day.

“I’ve been on a lot of calls with other festivals and organizations across the country and the two words that keep coming up are flexibility and patience,” he said.

“The situation around the coronavirus pandemic changes daily and so we don’t want to overreact, but we still want to plan for the future,” he added.

About 40 float entries and 20 marching bands have already committed to participate in the 2021 Rose Parade, and Eads said the event will most likely happen but possibly in a different format.

“These are very difficult times for all of us,” he said. “The Rose Parade has always epitomized that hope and joy of a new year. It’s very important to stay focused on that, and this pandemic will pass.”

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