Cal Poly universities’ colorful float of animated chameleons, called “A New Leaf,” received the Founders’ Trophy at the 128th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Monday.
The trophy is awarded to the most beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization. Designed and built collaboratively by Cal Poly and Cal Poly Pomona students over several months, “A New Leaf” competed among 41 entries and was the only student-built float. The float continues an annual tradition begun in 1949, when the two universities first partnered to produce a Rose Parade entry.
This year’s 55-foot-long, 30-foot-tall float included a mechanism that raised and lowered some of the flowers on the largest chameleon so that it appeared to change color from orange to yellow.
The float was decorated with 9,500 roses and 4,200 Gerbera daisies, plus about 32,500 button mums that covered the chameleons. The display garnered a “California Grown” designation from the California Cut Flower Commission for the sixth consecutive year because of the abundance of California flowers used — about 94 percent of the flowers on the float.
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“It’s just unreal how much time and steel, how much shaping, how many flowers went into making the float,” said decorations chair Belen Castillo, a Cal Poly forestry and natural resources junior. “The very last thing we do is put on all the flowers. It looks so beautiful.”