Rose Parade -- on the Kiwanis International float.
Here are some of those fantastic folks who are making this happen:
McCormick & Schmick's on Dec. 21 to surprise me! There are several others as well.
I'm told it's a combination welcome-back-to-life and happy-retirement gift. I will be forever grateful for their generosity and friendship.
On Wednesday afternoon I visited the float in the Rosemont Pavilion near the Rose Bowl Stadium, thanks to Phoenix Decorating Company's Chuck Hayes, director of sponsor relations, and Dave Wallach, Kiwanis International Rose Float riders coordinator.
Rough illustrations for all 2012 Rose Parade floats had to be submitted and approved long before the 2011 parade, then the long process of 2012 float-building began just days after the 2011 parade.
Welders, engineers, designers, floral directors, scads of volunteers and more bring the floats to life.
I borrowed these photos of the Kiwanis International float in progress from Phoenix:
Horse head in the making:
Welder working on base:
Wire mesh icicles for the base:
Every square inch of float exterior, even the wheels of the chassis, must be covered in natural plant, vegetable, fruit, tree, seed, grain and/or flower materials. Deciding which types will be used is a meticulous process decided a year in advance (which is why this board is pretty faded):
Roy Rogers Riders Club:
Trigger, as good-lookin' as when he was taxidermed many years ago! Bullet will be his side. This massive float will celebrate the 100th birthday of the late King of the Cowboys. I grew up watching Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on TV in the 1950s, so this is a particular thrill!
Look for me on the Kiwanis International Float! I'll be sitting on one of the perches near the top of the base. On Orange Grove Boulevard I'll be on the west side, on Colorado Boulevard you'll see me on the north side and on Sierra Madre Boulevard I'll be waving from the west side. So what if I won't be on the "TV side" at Orange Grove and Colorado -- there'll be plenty of open spaces between the horse's legs, so you should be able to see me (and I you) just fine!
All the floats, including the riders, have to be on Orange Grove Boulevard for judging on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.. The parade will begin at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 2, since it's never on a Sunday.