Cal Poly universities took off with another Rose Parade award in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.
The universities’ float “Dreams Take Flight,” designed and built by students from Cal Poly SLO and Cal Poly Pomona, received the Past Presidents Trophy for the “most outstanding innovation in the use of floral and non-floral materials,” according to a Cal Poly news release.
The 18-by-54-foot display features three cute critters — a koala, sea otter and red panda — piloting prop airplanes amid a whimsical landscape, including moving clouds.
“We’re pumped,” said Sara Novell, a mechanical engineering major who rode on the float.
In a flurry over the last week, volunteers decorated the moving scene with thousands of colorful flowers, including 10,000 roses, 10,000 Gerbera daisies and 1,000 irises, in addition to a flurry of mums: 12,000 chrysanthemums, 7,500 yellow button mums, 3,000 green button mums, 1,000 orange cushion mums and 500 purpose cushion mums.
Nearly all of the cut flowers and plant material came from California, including white and lavender statice grown by students on the San Luis Obispo campus — earning the float the “California Grown” designation.
This was the 70th float in Cal Poly history. Since 1948, the two schools’ entries have won more than 50 awards. That history was celebrated in this year’s float with stamps of past floats depicted on the planes in tribute.
The Rose Parade is in its 129th year. This year, 44 floats took part in the parade.