My children and I attended Dole Family Day to help decorate Dole’s Rose Parade float. We had a blast attaching dried parsley for the float’s troughs. For the 2016 Rose Parade, Dole’s extravagant entry is by far one of the most ambitious ever created in its six years of participating in the parade! This year’s exquisite float, “Soaring Over Paradise,” has numerous striking features including a zipline that travels through a lush foliage of roses, anthuriums, orchids, dendrobium orchids, and cymbidiums. Featuring four fresh waterfalls, “Soaring Over Paradise” celebrates our priceless tropical rainforest.
A flock of Macaws in pre-flight stance pay tribute to the award-winning floral designer Raul R. Rodriguez. Macaws will be decorated with strawflower confetti, while rice, onion seed and orange magnolia help enliven details on the Bengal tigers. Greyish Ming Moss brings vibrancy to the elephants. An extremely talented floral artist, Raul helped design Dole’s winning 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Rose Parade floats. During Rodriguez’s 38 years as a floral designer, he created 528 floats, including 31 of which were Sweepstakes Trophy winners in the Rose Parade.
Raul loved birds and designed all the floats with his Macaw, Sebastian, always near his side. “Raul was a member of the Dole Packaged Foods family and helped us not only create vibrant, colorful and exotic floats, but also to tell the stories of our heritage and the many cultures that contribute to our mission of inspiring healthy lifestyles,” said Dave Spare, Vice President, Marketing, of Dole Packaged Foods. Dole is also making a monetary donation to Raul’s alma mater, California State University Long Beach.
Dole packaged foods is truly healthy, and that theme is celebrated annually in the floral designs of fruits and veggies found throughout the float. I like the fact that Dole offers GMO-free fruits and vegetables served in 100% BPA-free packaging. The fruit is packaged in 100% fruit juice – not the high fructose corn syrup you find in most packaged foods. For Dole Family Day, food trucks were on-hand, serving mouth-watering hamburgers from Home of the Little Stinko. Tantalizing Cubanos from Crispy Cuban flew off the truck. Of course, Ananda, my 8 year-old, had her face painted, and frolicked around the obstacle course. Ananda also pictures with members of the 2016 Royal Rose Parade Court. Bohemia Dancers entertained the attendees and encouraged many to join them in dancing.
Decorating the Rose Parade float has become a family tradition for Daryl Bender, Fiesta Parade Floats Project Supervisor. He’s been working on Rose Parade floats for more than 30 years. Every year members of Bender’s family travel across the United States to help decorate Dole’s float. “We have from 20 to 25 people come. It started as a family reunion, where we’d gather at this time and we kept up the tradition,” Bender says. He has a host of fond memories over the years, and treasures this family time. The project supervisor enjoys decorating and says it’s most fulfilling when the float hits the street for the client to be satisfied and public to adore!
From December 26-30, two shifts of 20-30 people decorate Dole’s float from 8am until 10pm. Decorating Rose Parade floats creates various feelings of satisfaction, joy, and peace in knowing that you contributed to something great! My children continually walk away from this experience feeling both happy and fulfilled after helping create a beautiful float. Girl Scouts and volunteers from around the country work on various floats. Although the work may be considered tedious for some, the end result is magnificent! If you’ve ever yearned to help, here’s your chance. Call 877-793-9911.
Live on Green (Dec. 29 – 31) is a new event honoring our National Parks Service, featuring Rose Parade activities prior to New Year’s Day. Find seven themed zones including; Jam in the Van, a solar-powered recording studio where indie and alternative bands record and perform live; Main Plaza, which offers a grand place to view the precision of the USAF drill team and other bands; Spirit Theatre, where historical film footage of past Rose Parades and/or guest speakers are featured; Family Fun Zone includes a street party atmosphere with stilt walkers, balloon twisters, magicians and plenty of games; and Bistro on the Green features Celebrity Chef Ben Ford and other culinary experts, along with mixology segments, happy hour segments, and various tips and tricks. Make sure to visit Dole’s Live On Green Bistro for an assortment of delicious fresh fruit and veggie dishes. Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green, Pasadena, www.liveongreenpasadena.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dole Rose Bowl Float 2016 – Soaring Over Paradise