The Cal Poly Universities’ Rose Float entry passed its first mechanical inspection by the Tournament of Roses Association this month. The tests included five-point turns and evaluations of structural integrity and emergency procedures.
“Sweet Shenanigans” is being built by students from Pomona and San Luis Obispo. The 55-foot-long float will feature giant gummy bears enjoying snowy adventures — riding a s’mores sled, ice skating and ice fishing. Planned animation includes a gummy bear throwing snowball-like projectiles on the float.
To create that vision, the design team is transforming the two-dimensional rendering into three-dimensional reality. After calculating the amount of time needed to complete each phase, the team focused on building the float’s framework.
The electronics team is responsible for building the power distribution system and making the animation work.
“For the first mechanical inspection, the float’s drive needed to be operable and steerable,” says Ryan Martin, an electrical engineering major who is a part of the electronics team. “The operator compartments needed to be defined, and our nitrogen brakes needed to be working.”
This is Martin’s second-year as a Rose Float volunteer. “I enjoy all of it, especially the problem-solving. I enjoy making something, thinking through problems and working out practical hands-on solutions,” he says.
Still a metal skeleton as it meandered through campus, the float already featured the recognizable shapes of two of the gummy bears and curves that will turn into scoops of ice cream. The driver and operators were visible underneath the framework.. This year’s float will have five operators in four compartments.
On a given weekend, 60 to 70 students from both Cal Poly campuses will crowd into the Rose Float Lab working hard to bring “Sweet Shenanigans” to life. Starting Dec. 12, students will work around the clock to get the float ready for the big parade.
Audrey Doan, chair of the design team, says that volunteers do not need experience to help build the float. “It all comes down to one’s love for the program and a willingness to learn while having a great time. All majors are encouraged.” she says.
Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo have participated in the Tournament of Roses Parade continuously since 1949. Their joint float is the only the self-built entry designed and constructed by students. Cal Poly Universities’ floats have won 55 awards, most recently the 2015 Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for Most Beautiful Non-Commercial Float and the 2014 Crown City Innovation Trophy for Best Use of Imagination and Innovation to Advance the Art of Float Design.