Cal Poly reveals design of its 2018 Rose Parade Float

The Cal Poly Universities’ Rose Parade float is titled “Dreams Take Flight” and features a baby red panda, sea otter and koala flying in airplanes.
The Cal Poly Universities’ Rose Parade float is titled “Dreams Take Flight” and features a baby red panda, sea otter and koala flying in airplanes.

Cal Poly’s newly unveiled 2018 Rose Float design features baby animals flying in airplanes. What’s not to like?

The Rose Float Committee revealed the design on social media Thursday in a bid to take advantage of the momentum of students returning to the Cal Poly campuses in San Luis Obispo and Pomona, SLO campus committee president Ali Harake said.

The fifth-year mechanical engineering major said the float, titled “Dreams Take Flight,” was a response to the 2018 parade’s theme of “Making A Difference.”

“We really wanted to incorporate that into our design,” he said.

The design is based on a concept submitted by an anonymous artist and features a baby koala, red panda and sea otter flying prop planes amid a whimsical landscape.

“We have a lot of people that really like koalas,” Harake said of the SLO and Pomona committees.

He said the critters, “not animals you’d typically see together,” reflect the diversity of the 61-member Rose Float Committee in terms of both majors and backgrounds.

“We’re one of the most diverse teams on our campus,” he said. “We tend to recruit people from all different backgrounds.”

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, Jan. 2, 2017.

Harake said work on the float started in July, with the SLO campus building the rear half and the Pomona campus building the front. Despite the halves being worked on separately, Harake said there is a great deal of coordination involved in building the floats, especially when they are joined in October.

“From then on, we’re down in Pomona every weekend,” Harake said.

As per the rules of the parade, the entire float must be covered with “botanical material.” In Cal Poly’s case, the float is more than 90 percent covered in flowers and materials harvested from California.

Harake said it was a point of pride that Cal Poly’s float, which competes with floats paid for by commercial entities, is part of “a community of the self-built.”

“This is all built by students, led by students and driven by students,” Harake said.

The Tournament of Roses Parade takes place in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2018.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7929, @andrewsheeler

Students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo made multiple treks to their sister school in Pomona over the past few months to decorate their Rose Parade float, which has the theme “A New Leaf." It will be the only student-built float in the parade, whic

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