The reason is not the Rose Parade itself, which to be honest we much prefer half-watching from the sofa instead of fighting the battle to leave our Rose Bowl-adjacent neighborhood, which is pretty much in lockdown on January 1. No, what we love is the everydayness of the parade preparation in the month of December. A week ago we sat in a mini traffic jam caused by the moving of a massive float on Raymond, and didn’t mind the delay one bit. More recently we were again driving down Raymond and saw throngs of happy-looking teenagers, and that always requires investigation. It turns out they were there to decorate floats.
The teens in question were particularly happy because it was lunchtime at Phoenix Decorating Co., which at most volunteer stations seemed to mean pizza. And they also seemed delighted to be taking part in the massive effort to decorate whatever float their group was vested in. There were kids from public high schools in Glendale, Alhambra, La Canada and Lincoln Heights; there were kids from Scouts and clubs and nonprofit groups.
While we’ve never been quite clear on how a for-profit company like Phoenix gets to benefit from massive amounts of volunteer labor, it’s still a wonderful thing to see so many diverse groups of young people working together on something constructive. Let’s hope they can all find parade-route campout spots on December 31st.
Here are a few more photos of the creations in progress: