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Cal Poly’s space-themed Rose Parade float earns Extraordinaire Award

19Rose Parade float2-The Cal Poly Universities Rose Parade entry, Far Out Frequencies, makes its way along the parade route in Pasadena January 1, 2019.
19Rose Parade float2-The Cal Poly Universities Rose Parade entry, Far Out Frequencies, makes its way along the parade route in Pasadena January 1, 2019.

Cal Poly’s 2019 Rose Parade float has won the event’s Extraordinaire Award.

The award for the “most extraordinary float” was for its creation titled “Far Out Frequencies,” designed and built by teams of students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona.

The float features a pair of astronauts and a half-dozen animated alien friends communicating through music.

This year’s theme marked the fourth time in 71 appearances that a Cal Poly float has featured a space-related design. This year celebrates the parade’s 130th year.

“It’s the first time we’ve every gotten this award, so we’re really excited about it,” said Sara Novell, a mechanical engineering senior and president of Cal Poly SLO Rose Float. “We did build an extraordinary float from an extraordinary team of students from both campuses. It was just a culmination of all of our collaborations, teamwork and honestly, I wouldn’t expect anything less from this team.”

The universities’ entry was among 44 floats featured in this year’s New Year’s Day parade in Pasadena, which celebrated the theme, “The Melody of Life.”

“The concept was selected from about 150 ideas submitted by students, local communities, alumni and friends of the Cal Poly Rose Float program,” Cal Poly said in a statement. “... Unable to communicate directly, the astronauts use musical instruments to share their message of goodwill with a half-dozen one- two and three-eyed aliens, leading to out-of-this-world fun and some unexpected good times.”

19Rose Parade guitar.jpg
19Rose Parade guitar-Guitar playing astronaut on the Cal Poly Universities float. January 1, 2019. Tom Zasadzinski, Cal Poly Pomona

The float is 49 feet in length, 15-feet wide and stands 16-feet tall, and incorporates movement from the space characters on the float platform that includes the strumming of a guitar and the playing of an accordion.

The float was adorned with thousands of colorful blooms — including 7,000 roses, 7,200 Gerbera daisies, 3,200 irises and 200 red cabbages as well as white cushion mums, and button mums, according to Cal Poly.

Awards were announced about 6 a.m., two hours before the start of the parade down Colorado Boulevard, which covers more than five miles.

“Our extended Mustang family of alumni, family and float fans gush with Cal Poly pride over the hard work that transformed a drawing into a larger-than-life colorful spectacle,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong in a statement.

Far Out Frequencies.jpg
A rendering of Cal Poly’s space-themed Rose Parade float. Cal Poly

Coming into Tuesday’s event, Cal Poly entries had earned more than 57 awards, including the event’s 2018 Past President award honoring the most outstanding innovation in the use of floral and non-floral materials, according to the university.

The UPS Store won the parade’s top honor this year, the Sweepstakes Award, with its theme “Books Keep Us On Our Toes,” according to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade website.

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