The 2023 Tournament of Roses Parade will happen on Monday, Jan. 2, and the Cal Poly Rose Float team will be the first of the judged floats to travel down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.
Annie Doody is Rose Float President at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and for her, this is a childhood dream.
“I started helping Cal Poly as a Girl Scout when I was about eight or so. My Girl Scout troop leader was a Cal Poly SLO alumni and she was able to get us, our troop, to volunteer with the float,” she told KSBY.
Doody kept volunteering year after year until she became a student at Cal Poly. This year, she oversaw a team of 40 crew members and hundreds of volunteers working on the float.
“If I told my eight-year-old self, like, hey, you're going to be in charge of all this one day, I don't know if she'd believe me, but she'd probably think it was pretty cool,” she said.
The float this year is called "Road to Reclamation," which showcases the parade theme of "Turning a Corner." The team interpreted the theme through a nurse log, which is a fallen tree branch that gets a second life.
“Our snails and mushrooms are helping recycle the nutrients from this branch into things that other plants can use,” Doody explained.
The team believes they will use about 60,000 flowers as well as produce like purple lettuce on the float.
According to the Cal Poly Rose Float team, they will move forward with the parade rain or shine. Afterward, they hope to compost the flowers and recycle what they can from the float's structure.
Another Central Coast native will be in the Rose Parade as well.
Matthew Shuck will represent the Kiwanis Club on the float this year. He is a member of the Aktion Club which is made up of disabled adults who organize community service.
"I like helping people," Shuck told KSBY.
Kiwanis International has a float in the parade every year. Brian Atwell is the District Administrator for the Kiwanis Aktion Clubs in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. He explained this year's design.
“Catching the Wave of Service and that’s a bear holding the Kiwanis flag riding in a wave of service,” Atwell said.
“I’m wearing my Hawaiian shirt," Shucks added.
The Tournament of Roses Parade typically happens on New Year's Day but because that day happens to fall on a Sunday this year, the parade will take place on Monday.
The parade has a never-on-Sunday policy to avoid conflicting with church services. You can watch the parade on KSBY starting at 8 a.m.