Cal Poly Float Entry Gets an Early Slot in the 2020 Rose Parade
‘Aquatic Aspirations’ will be the second float and fourth overall participant in the 131st annual parade, which begins at 8 a.m. Jan. 1
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly universities’ “Aquatic Aspirations” will be the second float to roll down Colorado Boulevard on Jan. 1 at the 2020 Rose Parade.
The entry, which features a submarine navigating above a sunken shipwreck that has become home to colorful marine wildlife, will be the fourth overall participant in the 131st Rose Parade, which will feature 44 floats, 23 marching bands and 16 equestrian units. Parade officials announced the lineup Thursday, Dec. 11.
Rose Parade officials estimate that 700,000 people see the parade in person, while 37 million Americans and an international audience of 28 million tune in to watch it on TV.
“It is very exciting,” said Sydney Strong, president of the team at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. “We’ve never been so close to the beginning of the route. The entire team is very excited to have this opportunity, and we hope that we get to share our float with all those watching the parade. There are a few nerves with being so close to the front of the parade, but I think that this doesn’t necessarily place more pressure on us — just gets us a bit more excited!”
This year, the underwater theme allows the teams from the San Luis Obispo and Pomona universities to play with underwater creatures. The completed float, which will be driven in the parade by Walter Trygstad, a manufacturing engineering senior from Davis, California, will resemble a scene from a Jacques Cousteau TV special, featuring animated turtles, jellyfish, swimming fish, a rocking ray and swaying kelp. While a 9-foot tall Cal Poly submarine will rock back and forth, an octopus will glide 13 feet high while waving its tentacles toward the crowd.
Gaining a spot so early in the parade may be a first for the schools that have been a mainstay in the Pasadena classic since 1949.
“We were in the top 10 about five years or so back,” recalled Josh D’acquisto, Cal Poly’s Rose Parade float advisor. “It’s always at the complete discretion of the current tournament president, who shapes the parade for the feel they want.”
Volunteer members of the Float Entries Committee create a recommendation for the Rose Parade lineup, said Candy Carlson, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.
“The lineup is then presented to several Tournament of Roses committees, the president and our broadcast partners,” she said. “Together, they complete the final lineup to provide the best entertainment from beginning to end. The final decisions are not made based on seniority, and the positing of the floats is random.”
The Cal Poly campuses enjoy a rich history in the Rose Parade. The universities have the sixth highest number of appearances, behind the city of Los Angeles, South Pasadena, and the cities of Alhambra, Burbank and Sierra Madre.
Strong said the students are “now in Design and Deco Week, where we finish up the float and get it parade ready. Once finals are over, the team will be heading down to Pomona and working every day through Dec. 22 to get the float ready for the decoration materials.”
Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, students and hundreds of volunteers will work feverishly during Deco Week. It’s the time when every inch of the float will be decorated with flowers and other natural materials before the entry is unveiled on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, to the world as a rolling floral bouquet and tribute to the universities’ Learn by Doing ethos.
“Deco Week slots are now full, though those interested can sign up for our waitlist on the Eventbrite link,” Strong said.
Decorating tasks vary, from processing flowers to delicate detail work, both on and off the float. All ages and skill levels are welcome to decorate (young children should be accompanied by an adult). For more details, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/o/cal-poly-rose-float-7536540057?aff=2017
A worker sprays polyurethane foam on the chassis of Cal Poly universities’ “Aquatic Aspirations” float. The rigid surface will be decorated with materials derived from living plants, including roses and other flowers as well as seeds, nuts, petals, bark, leaves, fibers, stems and vegetables.
In photo at the top, A student welds a portion of Cal Poly universities’ “Aquatic Aspirations” float for the upcoming 2020 Rose Parade in Pasadena.
Photos courtesy California State Polytechnic University (Pomona)
December 13, 2019
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