Rose Parade float decorating frenzy is full steam ahead

Rose Parade Float Prep - 1

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Shari Kennedy of Kiwanis International adds color to an American flag on a float in the Rosemont Pavilion on Thursday, days before the Rose Parade on New Year's Day. The float uses wheat, corn kernels, green tea leaves, parsley, and crushed split peas, among other materials, for its color.

Rose Parade Float Prep - 2

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Liz Fox of Arkansas decorates the float for Donate Life, a non-profit organ and tissue donation organization. Fox's husband, David Lee Fox, will be one of several donors honored and pictured on the float with ground flower petals.

Rose Parade Float Prep - 3

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Crystal Ogden of Prescott, Ariz., a crew chief for Phoenix Decorating Company, wears a bright green hat to match the green tractor float she is overseeing.

Rose Parade Float Prep - 4

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Sarah Helman, left, and Nicole Sunga cut flowers for the City of Hope float. The two said they would spend their evening in the Rosemont Pavilion working on the float.

Rose Parade Float Prep - 5

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David Lacy of Covina works on a float honoring veterans and children from the Korean War. Lacy glues lettuce seed to soldiers' faces and helmet straps. Lacy himself is a veteran, as he was in the Navy during the Vietnam War.

Rose Parade Float Prep - 6

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Kekayo Armstrong, 13, cuts up yellow flowers for the City of Hope float. This year's Rose Parade features 41 floats.

Rose Parade Float Prep - 7

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Volunteers work on scaffolds high above the ground. The floats at Rosemont Pavilion are on view through Monday, and there are still volunteer opportunities.

Rose Parade Float Prep - 8

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Mark Klemme of Wisconsin, a member of the volunteer organization Kiwanis International, decorates a float from high up. Floats are decorated in locations throughout Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge, Sierra Madre, and Burbank.

Rose Parade Float Prep - 9

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Phoenix Decorating Company employees place beams over the Donate Life float, in preparation for adding color to the float. The 41 floats can also be viewed after the parade on Sierra Madre Boulevard on New Year's Day and Jan. 2.

Rose Parade Float Prep - 10

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Qi Yang, left, and her classmates from Shore High School volunteer with Kiwanis International to pull apart pieces of bark for a float.

Rose Parade Float Prep - 11

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The Rosemont Pavilion next to the Rose Bowl, which houses Phoenix Decorating Company's floats, is bustling on Thursday evening, days before the parade on New Year's Day.


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."

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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." 

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