Council gives unanimous approval to return entry to the Jan. 1 parade.

An ode to transportation and Glendale landmarks will be featured on the city’s 2016 Rose Parade float entry, a design that was unanimously approved City Council on Tuesday.

This past Jan. 1 marked the first time in a century that the city didn’t have an entry in the annual parade in Pasadena. The absence was due to a budget shortfall.

However, council members voted a few months ago to allocate $200,000 to renew the tradition for 2016 and, this week, they agreed to once again sign a contract with Phoenix Decorating Co. to build a float with the theme “Getting There Is Half the Fun.”

The Tournament of Roses committee also has to vote on the design in July.

The overall theme for all floats in next year’s parade is “Find Your Adventure.”

The newly formed Glendale Rose Float Assn. gathered design ideas from the community to help come up with a proposal that went before the council.

Chris Lofthouse, Phoenix’s president, said next year’s design is one of the largest ever for Glendale.

At 55 feet long, 25 feet high and 18 feet wide, the float will include a peacock — Glendale’s city bird — at its front like a hood ornament. The city’s logo will be blended into the peacock’s tail feathers.

At the back end of the entry will be the façade of the Larry Zarian Transportation Center. A bridge with a train on top will span from the back to the front of the float. There will also be a bicycle, car, motorcycle and airplane. The train’s wheels and airplane’s propellers will spin.

Local landmarks such as the Alex Theatre and Brand Library will be included in between the arches of the bridge.

[The float is] full of references to the rich history of Glendale,” said Mayor Ara Najarian.

While he was receptive to the design, he wanted to make sure everything on the float would be politically correct to avoid any blow-back from animal rights groups. Four years ago the city’s float depicted a circus elephant, which raised some objections.

Councilwoman Paula Devine asked if the city tree, the jacaranda, could be added to the design.

Lofthouse said it’s a possibility and that the request would be considered.

Although the float is being funded with city money, council members warned the association there may not be similar backing in coming years.

The float group has developed a fundraising strategy to help pay for future entries and to gradually pay the city back.

A website was launched where donations can be accepted, but the main push for donations from corporate sponsors and private citizens will gradually get underway as the year progresses, said Keith Sorem, the association’s president.

“Trying to get people to support a Rose float when it’s 100 degrees outside, it seems like a long way away,” he said in a phone interview.

So far, the group has raised about $4,500, while the council has mandated at least $50,000 be raised. Sorem said the group’s goal is $75,000.

Matthew Leum, the association’s vice president of fundraising, told the council he’s already met with corporate sponsors based in Glendale and a more far-reaching campaign is around the corner now that the design has been selected.

“We’ll be going door to door to independent businesses with window posters and talking with them to fund the float that way as well,” Leum said.

The float’s vehicle will have to be tested in the coming weeks, and the earliest volunteers will be getting together to bring the design to life will be around Thanksgiving, Sorem said.

Source: Glendale News-Press