Downey Rose Float Association (DRFA) embraced the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade theme, “Find Your Adventure,” and the collaboration with the National Parks Service with their entry “Exploring the Everglades.” The float won the Founders’ Trophy for the most beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers from a community organization. It was designed by Jason Redfox and rendered by Thom Neighbors. As with all self-builts, Downey seeks submissions from the public for concepts that represent the Rose Parade theme and has possibilities to become a float.
“We’re trying to build a picture of a three-dimensional reality,” construction chair Kelley Roberts, Jr. told KTLA during Countdown to the Rose Parade. He has worked on the Downey entry for 25 years. Redfox said, “Choosing the Everglades really allowed us to focus on the wildlife and the beauty of the Everglades. It’s a tropical setting and it just allows you to create something that’s beautiful.”
Miss Downey and the Downey Princesses were featured hiking and canoeing the Everglades, along with four stunning herons, a fierce mother panther, a couple spotted cubs, and a forest of black mangrove trees laden with oversized orchids in colors of pink, yellow and orange. Downey floats typically feature delicate artistry and open space. More details about the float are in the photo list below.
The theme of the 127th Rose Parade and 102nd Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2016 was “Find Your Adventure.” If you have a question or would like a reply to your comment, please post on Facebook at All Things Rose Parade or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exploring the Everglades
More than 26,000 flowers were used on the float built by Downey Rose Float Association for the 2016 Rose Parade. These included 12,350 orchids, 4,000 iris and 6,000 roses plus hydrangeas, anthurium, strawflower, calathea, lilies, fern, moss, sweet rice, poppy seed, bark, green tea leaves and monstera leaves. “Exploring the Everglades” won the Founders’ Trophy for the most beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers from a community organization.
Miss Downey and her court
A lazing Florida panther watches as two riders glide by underneath. Five young women represented the City of Downey on the float: Miss Downey Alexis Gomez and Miss Downey Princesses Lauren Martinez, Krystal Serna, Haley Griffith and Kennedy Gonzales.
Magnificent birds and steamrolled dirt
The four stunning herons on the Downey float were covered with sweet rice, which is whiter than whole grain rice. Their feathers were created with white carnations and dendrobiums. The bird at the front of the float and this one at the back moved their bodies up and down.
Peeking out between the irises and rose bank is dirt. Not just any dirt; this dirt has a story behind it. Downey decoration chair Jeff Shadic told KTLA on Countdown to the Rose Parade that he ordered powdered cinnamon, but what arrived was sticks. Grinding it in a blender just didn’t create the right texture. “What we ended up doing was actually taking a steamroller, crushing it that way just to get it to a point where we could put it in a blender and turned it powdery enough and get a nice, even consistency of chunks in it.”
The Everglades is home to 23 threatened or endangered animal species, according to the National Parks Service. One of these is the beautiful Florida panther. “Exploring the Everglades” depicts a mother panther resting on a stone arch, keeping an eye on her two gamboling cubs below.
Though adult Florida panthers are tan with yellow eyes, cubs are born with spotted coats and blue eyes. Both adults and cubs have the distinctive black facial markings that are reproduced on the Downey float. Only alligators higher in the food chain than this predator.