From dinosaurs to a giant beer stein, from Pi Day and World Book Day to the Hindu holiday of Holi, creativity exploded during Cal Poly Universities Home-Brew Rose Float Competition.
Students from both the Pomona and San Luis Obispo campuses attended four online workshops to learn about the different aspects of creating a Rose Float and then let loose to create their own parade float designs with a holiday theme.
About 45 students participated in the event with 12 teams presenting during the final showcase on Dec. 12. Seventy percent of students on the final teams were first-time Rose Float participants.
Winning the Sweepstakes Award for best overall team effort was “Strength in Numbers” celebrating Pi Day. On the float a colony of ants and other insects have taken over a picnic complete with a giant pie. A queen ant with a picnic blanket cape and monarch butterflies top the float.
Mike Sturman, a sophomore majoring in construction engineering and management, joined with friends D’Angelo Reyes (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo-SLO), Jessica Goldberg (Purdue) and Paige Brunson (UCLA) to create the design.
“I enjoy themed entertainment, so being able to design a parade float fits nicely into my career goal of designing theme parks,” said Sturman.
Now a design lead for the Pomona Rose Float team, Sturman started volunteering last year, welding and shaping elements for Aquatic Aspirations. He also worked on a mechanism to make fish swim in and out of a sunken ship.
Justin Randig’s design of a man in lederhosen surfing a wave of beer spilling from a giant beer stein won the Lone Wolf Award for the best overall project from a solo participant.
For the third-year landscape architecture major and member of Rose Float’s design team, it was an opportunity to explore his creativity.
“Because the design wasn’t for the Rose Parade, I was able to do something just for fun and go off the deep end [with Oktoberfest],” said Randig. “I was trying to do something no one else would do. Maybe just turning 21 had something to do with it. I also wanted to bring in my German heritage.”
Winning the contest’s Grand Marshal Award for most outstanding creative concept and design, was “Cretaceous Catastrophe,” a scene from what might happen if dinosaurs celebrated Thanksgiving, by SLO student Miranda Standing.
“Multicolor Mayhem,” based on the Hindu holiday of Holi, with monkeys playing Tabla drums and other happy animals under a rainbow of color, captured the Crown City Innovator Award for the most outstanding use of imagination, innovation, and technology. The float was designed by the SLO team of Saira Mapes and William Terlinden.
Cal Poly Pomona students also participated on teams with designs celebrating World Book Day (Ashley Yeaman, Elaina Reyes and Julia Szymanska), Christmas in the Aloha State (Neelam Mistry), The Cherry Blossom Festival (Alexis Moreno and Sarah Etwaru) and Dia de los Muertos (Angelica Herrador).
All of the float designs can be seen here.
For Yeaman, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, the opportunity to learn more about the construction, design and deco process; meet the Rose Float team; and hear from them about past experiences and behind the scenes stories, has convinced her to be involved on next year’s team.
“We really were looking for ways to bring joy back to our Rose Float team and a way to interest potential new members in the team,” said Ralph Agbayani, the design chair for the 2020 Pomona Rose Float team who organized the event with Avi McManus, the communications manager for the SLO team.
“The designs exceeded my expectations,” Agbayani added. “I loved the whimsy of ‘Cretaceous Catastrophe’ and the attention to detail in ‘Strength in Numbers,’ which nailed down details in design, construction and deco.”
According to Cindy Dice, president of the Pomona Rose Float Team, “The designs were phenomenal. They were so unique, creative and immersive. They clearly took their inspiration from previous Rose Parades and Disney parades.”
She is confident that next year’s Rose Float team will be ready to build an amazing float despite not being able to construct a physical float this year.
“The team has experience, a ton of creativity especially in design, mechanical ability and a really strong support system including our counterparts at SLO, the director and our Rose Float alumni.”