“DECORATE THE SHRINERS’ ROSE PARADE FLOAT” EVENT
This was a fun event to end the year with! When I received the invitation, I couldn’t figure out exactly what it would be, but that made the surprise of it better.
Shriners Hospitals For Children teamed-up with event producer, Debbie Durkin, to get a group of us together to help decorate their float for the Rose Parade, that was held three days later. We wound-up not being allowed to actually work on it, (I think that was because it’s really precise work, and all the volunteer workers had already been trained, or something like that,) but I’m sure we were all okay with it.
It turned-out that that whole area of Pasadena was abuzz with float-decoration parties and the like. So, just driving though the streets to our destination was exciting. My friend, Maria, and I were actually giggling like schoolgirls just seeing the bleachers and signs!
Several of the floats were being worked on in the warehouse our fete was headquartered in front of. (I’m sure there were others around town that day, too.) Shriners set-up a canopied “living room,” complete with a couch and chairs, and had their signature teddy bear, Fezzy, all over the area.
The assemblage munched on assorted roll-ups that were provided by Bristol Farms along with what Maria called “the best coffee I’ve ever had!” And there was a beautiful dessert bar, courtesy of Smoked Fusion Catering, that featured beautiful (and delicious) holiday treats. The most popular item was the make-your-own s’mores, which everyone happily did!
All the guests were in great spirits, as we mingled and chatted. I enjoyed chatting with Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas, especially because told me where to get his colorful and sparkly hoodie for the krump-
dancing Mr. X. And amateur Golden Gloves champ, Brian (The Hitter) Reynolds, let us try on his victor’s belt. He didn’t even mind when I closely checked-out his handsome face to see if it had even one scratch, but there were none to be found.
Our favorite activity in the tent was perusing beautiful jewelry designed by Amy Marie Radzik of AR Pro Designs. (Maria said that speaking with Amy, “it became abundantly clear that her mission is to create jewelry that makes you feel beautiful.”) Her work really added a lot to the festivities, and we were each lucky enough to come away with one of her pieces. I chose a set of two different kinds of sparkly bracelets, of course, while Maria went with a classy “Hamsa” necklace, which she told me she was “immediately drawn to” because “sporting this fabulous piece will make me feel not only beautiful, but safe!” (That’s because, as Maria put it, “Hamsa is a sign of protection that also represents blessings, power and strength, and is seen as a potent defense against the evil eye.”)
Speaking of pleasant, we were shown all around the warehouse by our escort for the day, Dessa. (And that’s her real name!) She and her adorbs hubby were kind volunteers for Shriners, and they really knew their stuff! Dessa ushered us into the “flower” room, and also showed us the “glue area.” Trust me, decorating a Rose Parade float is no joke! It takes tons of artisans and volunteers! Tons!
Digression—I have to tell you a tale that shows just how literal my mind is: I have always been told that “every float is made entirely from flowers and vegetation.” So, I believed it, and wondered how they made the engine, wheels, and basic structure from just flowers! OMG! Even I can’t believe I thought that, but if I’m told that something’s made entirely from one entity, I have to take them at word’s value. “Entirely” means the whole enchilada, not just the covering layer! I finally stopped believing that just a couple of years ago. And I have a 147IQ! Can you imagine if I still thought that, and just found-out the truth as I was viewing the float production so up-close and personal?! I would have been crushed!
We loved that the Shriners invited us up onto their float to explore. I was so into it that I even pretended to be decorating it, rather than waving from it!
Maria and I must have taken a thousand pictures between us in just those two brief-but-jam-packed hours that day. But it was all so beautiful that we couldn’t help but capture it all for posterity. (Maybe next year, we’ll have our own fete, so we can share our snaps.)
I knew it was a total success when, on the way home, Maria said, “I hope they invite us back next year!” I hear ya, sister–fingers crossed that they do.
[Note: I guess our fake decorating must have helped—the Shriners Hospitals’ float won the Volunteers Trophy for “Best floral design of Parade theme 35’ in length and under!” Yay, them!]