The Road to Recovery – Pasadena Now

Rendered by mechanical engineering student Warren Taira, a member of the Cal Poly Construction team, from San Martin, CA.

Cal Poly students shifted their gaze from the skies to a forest world of gigantic snails, mushrooms and colorful mushrooms for their 74th entry in the upcoming Pasadena Rose Parade.

The theme for the 2023 Tournament of Roses is “Turning the Corner”, which symbolizes the positive change and limitless potential that each new year can bring. The Cal Poly tank, “Road to Reclamation”, will demonstrate that through these dynamic revitalizers, a new beginning can come from unlikely places – by turning a dead tree branch into a catalyst for new life.

For students, it also represents their efforts to fully reclaim the Learn by Doing education that is Cal Poly’s hallmark, as well as the seven-decade partnership with California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, representing their schools in the 134th annual Pasadena Classic.

Mechanical engineering student Benjamino Cruz, a Cal Poly team member for four years, submitted the original concept for “Road to Reclamation.” Cruz is the president of team building.

The 23-foot-tall float features a huge purple snail scanning the paraders from its perch atop a 16-foot red-capped mushroom at the end of the float. Another mega-snail watches the baby snails play hunt, while a third snail, its 6-foot-tall coiled shell in shades of brown and gold, explores the road ahead of the float.

The entrance forest floor will be adorned with a rainbow of oversized mushrooms, mosses and lichens converting the fallen branch into nutrients for their community, while ladybugs flap their wings in preparation for take-off.

“A nurse log is a vital part of a forest ecosystem,” said Annie Doody, president of Cal Poly Rose Float and one of the team’s longest-serving volunteers (prior to enrolling in college at San Luis Obispo when the Glendale resident was just 8 years old). year). “It serves as the foundation for a new environment when a community comes together to create something new.

“The change is caused by several factors: it could be turnover from one year to the next or obtaining a university degree in the labor market. Either way, “Turning the Corner” reminds us to face these changes with an open mind and enthusiasm for what’s to come. Our float represents rebirth and second chances, as well as the magic and wonder that comes with the endless possibilities of a fresh start. After all, who knows what’s around the corner?

Doody, a marine science major with a theater minor, joined Cal Poly Rose Float in the fall of 2019 as a freshman and received the Construction Rookie of the Year award. She served as an electronic assistant the following year, during which the January 2021 parade was canceled due to COVID-19. She was selected as electronics manager and later animation operator for the 2022 “Stargrazers”, overseeing a team that programmed the movements of animated elements on the float.

“Stargrazers,” which brought to life a scene from the classic Mother Goose nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle,” received the Animation Award at the 133rd Rose Parade® on January 1. Doody came aboard and operated all of the tank’s animations.

The “road to recovery” is long, and the 2023 float shows that while change is not instantaneous, it can be extraordinary over time.

“We’re taking a small, often overlooked piece of nature and scaling it up to the size of a 55-foot-long Rose Parade float,” said Ryan Ward, a senior mechanical engineer who serves as president of the Pomona Rose Float team. .

Students from both universities have been working on the design of the float since February and are now bringing their plans to fruition. Members of the design team are busy welding pencil steel frames for the 6-foot molluscs and other large elements and plant life.

Construction crews are hard at work constructing the drive, electrical and hydraulic systems as well as the structural base of the nacelle to support the design elements.

And the decoration teams have finalized the color palette and are looking for the perfect material to bring liveliness, texture and pop to every part of the tank. These include using more than 3,500 chrysanthemums on snail shells alone – and the team are currently growing clover leaves to test the moss and forest floor aspects of the float.

To jointly build a float at two universities 230 miles apart, the base of the float frame is in two parts. Pomona students work on the front half, while Cal Poly teams focus on the back.

Close communication allows teams to coordinate their work. In mid-October, the Cal Poly part and pieces will be trucked to the Pomona campus, where the halves will be joined and the teams will begin layering and attaching the design elements in the sprint to end. arrival.

The float moves to Pasadena in mid-December. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, hundreds of students and volunteers work almost around the clock in the shadow of the Rose Bowl to decorate the float with flowers and other natural materials.

“The Road to Reclamation” will descend Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena as part of the 134th Rose Parade on Monday, January 2. (The parade has a “Never on Sunday” tradition when New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday.)

The Cal Poly Rose Float team is proud of its connection to Pasadena. In the fall of 1948, students from San Luis Obispo and Pomona came together for the first time to produce a float for the 1949 parade. Since then, entries from both universities have won 61 awards over the years.

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