Raising children is not easy. We try to provide life experiences they will preserve as memories for decades. One such experience was decorating Rose Parade floats for nine years. Not only is the parade recognized internationally, but also for our children to see their work in person or on TV brings an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. In our final year volunteering, we with several of their girlfriends were a seasoned team of decorators. The float we were assigned to had many workers, so we were sent to one just trying to get off the ground. Initially, the forewoman was skeptical because our teen girls seemed young. By the end of our shift, though, half the “TV side” of the float was completed! Two days later on the news, we saw our float won the award for the first to be completely decorated, much from our efforts! As was our tradition, we would attend the parade to see not only our float, but also many others on the streets of Pasadena.
There were many around us wearing cardinal and white as the Wisconsin Badgers were playing in the Rose Bowl later in the day. The parade started, and the girls anxiously watched for their float to turn onto Colorado Boulevard. The Badger fan next to me asked, “Why do the girls keep calling it their float?” I explained they had decorated the TV side of the float. Finally, the float turned the corner and stopped in front of us. The girls leaned forward silently. They felt the pride of their hard work. As the float regained its momentum down Colorado for its trek, the nearby crowd dressed in cardinal and white rose up and applauded our girls, recognizing their accomplishment. I love the people of Wisconsin!
So why doesn’t the city of Santa Clarita have a float in the Rose Parade? South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Burbank, Glendale, Downey and Torrance participate. Why not us? Indeed, this possibility was brought up about 20 years ago to the City Council without success. Was it money or time? For this 37-year resident, it has always been difficult to describe to friends where Santa Clarita is, until one mentions Magic Mountain. Now, though, our valley is the “Hollywood of the North,” producer of Olympic medal-winning athletes, with safe communities, great schools and colleges, and we even had a TV series named after us: “Santa Clarita Diet”!
Decorating a Rose Parade float is a life experience. It would be even more special if it was for our home town. I ask the City Council to develop a feasibility committee to determine the timetable and cost. This would not only provide a life experience for children, but also an event where we all can work as a team to create a piece of art for the world to admire. Businesses can get on board sponsoring volunteers, and of course, we can have a contest for float design with the winner riding on the float New Year’s Day. Let your voices be heard. Santa Clarita is not just Magic Mountain anymore.
Dr. Gene Dorio