At locations throughout Pasadena, thousands of volunteers spend up to nine hours day helping professional builders transform the now bare Rose Parade floats into the floral masterpieces that will make their way down Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day.
Sona Ohanjanya, 13, of La Crescenta is among the hundreds of Kiwanas Club volunteers who is spending several days of her winter break at the Rosemont Pavillion, across from the Rose Bowl. Among her jobs: climbing up on scaffolding to glue squares of corn husks high onto the sides of the City of Alhambra float.
"I think it’s actually really fun," Ohanjanya says. "You get to see what’s going to be on the Rose Parade...so when it’s on TV you say, 'Oh look! I decorated that!"
Around the corner, Nathan-Ace Jimenez, 16, a veteran float decorator and Zujaja Tehreem, 18,a first-timer, came all the way from Ventura to decorate the Rotary International float. Each committed to an 8-hour shift as part of the Rotary International service group, Interact.
"I really find the entire experience to be enjoyable," Jimenez says. "Usually they have me working on some of the signs... they’ll have us spread some of the flower petals on it or whatever they have us put on it."
Next to a giant green tractor that is the RFD-TV network float, Krystal Markham, 18, of Sunland sits at a table with her mother, Ruth, where the two of them paint and glue colorful seeds onto signs that will adorn that float. This year marks Krystal’s ninth season as a volunteer and Ruth's tenth.
"It's just fun to see how everything gets put together and say, 'I did that!' especially if your float wins an award we’re like, 'Yay!' you know, so it’s fun to get be able to do that."