Cal Poly Universities’ Rose Float “Road to Reclamation” claimed the Extraordinaire Trophy in the 134th Tournament of Roses Parade.
The 2023 entry, built and designed by students from Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was the first judged float in the parade lineup and rounded the corner to cheers from the crowd. Measuring 52 feet long and 25 feet tall, the lush float depicts the regenerative power of nature, featuring gigantic snails and colorful fungi on the forest floor converting a fallen log into nutrients for their community.
This is the second time the team has received the Extraordinaire Trophy, with “Far Out Frequencies,” a vision of guitar-playing astronauts jamming with alien musicians, first winning the recognition in 2019. This year’s award brings the team’s total number of Rose Float parade awards to 61 since the campuses began their collaboration in 1949.
This year, the student team used Arduino software to animate fluttering ladybug wings, the large snails’ heads and eye stalks, and the small snails’ circular chase sequence. One feature where movement cannot fail is the 25-foot towering mushroom which folds to fit under the 210 Freeway overpass at Sierra Madre Boulevard.
A special carnation, Florigene Moonshade, known for its distinctly vibrant royal purple, was used for the shell of the float’s top snail eyeing the crowd atop an amaranth-adorned mushroom. More than 2,500 square feet of live florals and dry organic materials recreated the lush scene of the float’s micro-ecosystem.
Among the edible décor are cabbages, broccoli, onion seeds, red onions, coffee, grapefruit, oranges, kumquats, daikon radish, cranberry seeds, quinoa, lentils, dill, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, flax seed, seaweed, almonds and oats.
View past Rose Float entries and awards at www.rosefloat.org. Due to expected rain this week, the float will not go on display on campus this year.