Last year it didn’t happen, but this year, it's back. The Cal Poly Rose Float team is in Pasadena, finishing the last details before the Rose Parade.
On New Year’s Day, students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Pomona will drive the float more than five miles through the streets of Pasadena.
They worked hundreds of hours together, as well as apart, to make the vision happen.
This year is unique because two generations of Rose Float teams worked together. The universities did not show a float last year at the modified parade because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so more than eighty students collaborated on the design for 2022.
One student from Cal Poly Pomona said, “We’re here from the moment we wake up in the morning [till] we go to sleep.”
This year’s float is titled “Stargrazers” and brings to life a scene from the nursery rhyme, “Hey Diddle Diddle,” also known as “The Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon.”
The two schools debated about the best way to represent both campuses.
“We are putting an engineering twist that two polytechnic schools Cal Poly SLO and Cal Poly Pomona understand really well, and we're showing the nursery rhyme the 'Cow Jumped Over the Moon,'" Avi McManus, the Vice President for the Cal Poly Rose Float team in San Luis Obispo, said. "But in this case, instead of getting up over that moon by magic, the cows have built and tested jetpacks to get up there.”
The jetpack will have material flowing through it, instead of on it. Cal Poly received permission to use clear tubes with organic materials within, instead of bedecking it.
“[It is] a 55 foot long, 40,000 pound float that people have spent hundreds of hundreds of hours on. It’s a big responsibility, but man, it’s a whole lot of fun," Sam, a senior at Cal Poly Pomona, said, describing the float.
After many months of working apart, McManus explained what coming together to debut the float means to them.
“At the end of the day, I think that the float is just the symbol of our teamwork and what it means that we were able to make this happen and work together," McManus said. "And you know, this is a really close knit group of people who really depend on each other and we want to build something nice that we're all going to be proud [of].”
Between Christmas and New Year's Day, students will finish the float, covering every inch with flowers before it participates in the annual rose parade.
The float is the only student-built float in the parade and one of only a handful of entries not built by professional companies.
On Monday night, the team drove the float from Cal Poly Pomona to Pasadena. They went about 10 miles per hour to protect the wheels. The journey lasted about seven hours.