Three young animals soar into the sky in homemade planes as “Dreams Take Flight” on the 2018 Cal Poly Universities’ Rose Parade float.
The dream-like scene on the 27-foot tall float will sparkle with LED lights on the stars and clouds. Airplane propellers on the “cardboard” planes will spin. Kites will fly. Paper airplanes will float around the base.
Selected from more than 150 entries, the design “represents imagination and creativity, with the idea that you can use whatever tools you have to achieve your dreams,” said Jerica Hurtado, Cal Poly Pomona’s float president and a second year MBA student. “Didn’t we all pretend that cardboard boxes were something else?”
The Cal Poly float is the only student-designed and built entry in the Rose Parade. A joint effort by students at Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo since 1949, the team has won 57 awards including the 2017 Founder’s Trophy for most beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization.
Students from all majors and backgrounds do the welding, metal shaping, machining, foam carving, woodworking, painting and flower harvesting in this unique experience. No prior experience is needed to join the group at Cal Poly Pomona.
This year, the team celebrates its 70th parade entry. Known for innovation, Cal Poly was the first to use hydraulics for animation (1968), computer-controlled animation (1978) and fiber optics (1982). In 2012, they were the first to be certified as “California Grown” for using 85% of the fresh flowers from California growers.
“Our float portrays the young imaginative spirits of our students and how we may achieve our highly set dreams alongside our companions,” says Jonathan de Leon, Cal Poly Pomona’s design chair and a mechanical engineering major. “We want the audience to feel as if they were flying as well and heading in a direction of making a difference.”
The Cal Poly float incorporates the 129th Rose Parade’s theme “Making a Difference” by honoring previous generations of float team members with stamps picturing past floats on the planes.
Float construction has already begun with students building float elements such as the characters, stars and planes.
On August 19th and again on August 20th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., summer lab days at Cal Poly Pomona will offer volunteers the opportunity to help work on the float by learning to weld, learning about and testing floral materials, as well as obtaining overall machine training needed to work on float elements. Students interested in the lab days should visit the Rose Float website for information on what to wear and for directions to the Rose Float Lab. Registration is not required.
In late October, students from San Luis Obispo will drive their half of the float to Cal Poly Pomona where the two halves will be joined, elements attached to the float, and after foaming, color is added. During design week, students work around the clock until the float moves to Pasadena on December 18.
Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, students and hundreds of volunteers will work feverishly to decorate the entire float with flowers and other natural materials before the entry is seen by millions of viewers around the world as it rolls along the parade route on January 1, 2018.
For more information or to volunteer to work on the float, visit www.rosefloat.org or contact Rose Float President Jerica Hurtado at email@example.com or Director Janetta McDowell at (909) 869-3204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.