LB's 2009 Rose Parade Float Is "Renaissance Revival"
(Dec. 19, 2008) -- Even a multi-million dollar budget deficit (spending exceeding revenue) hasn't deterred the City of LB's annual Rose Parade float.
On Jan. 1, 2009, LB's entry -- titled "Renaissance Revival" -- will highlight what a LB Convention & Visitors Bureau release calls "the wide array of entertainment, art and culture our city has to offer while celebrating the dramatic "Renaissance" our city has experienced over the past decade."
Image source: LBCVB
The professionally built float (by Phoenix Decorating Co.) will be 22 ft. high, 18 ft. wide and 50 ft. long. Its riders will include six members of LB's Municipal Band (as the Band celebrates its 100th anniversary as the longest continuously operating municipal band in the country). Aboard the float will be Muni Band leader Larry Curtiss, vocalist Tony Galla, a LB gondolier from Gondola Getaway and nine "very talented students from the float's namesake school, LB's Renaissance High School for the Arts."
LBCVB's release describes the float as follows:
A youthful gondolier, from Long Beach's own Gondola Getaway cruises, steers a gigantic gondola as it floats along Colorado Boulevard on January 1st, providing a moving depiction of the "Renaissance Revival" blossoming in the coastal city of Long Beach, California.
Members of the Long Beach Municipal Band, including the band's conductor Larry Curtiss and vocalist Tony Galla, will be aboard celebrating the band's 100th anniversary, making it the oldest continuous municipal band in the country. The musicians will be dressed in historic uniforms from the band's illustrious past. The float's music will be a medley of favorite Italian songs sung by Tony Galla, including Volare and La Donna e Mobile.
Talented students from Long Beach's Renaissance High School for the Arts will ride be on board wearing colorful costumes representing the multitude of arts, cultural and entertainment opportunities available to Long Beach residents and visitors, including live productions by more than a dozen theater groups, a symphony orchestra, opera and dance companies, plus two unique museums, two historic ranchos and a wide range of professional artists, galleries and cultural events.
Entertainment in Long Beach includes dozens of nightclubs, live music venues, comedy clubs, dinner theater and dozens of special exhibitions hosted by the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific. Long Beach is also a favorite filming location for dozens of major motion pictures, TV shows and commercials.
How/why was the theme chosen? The City of Long Beach is enjoying a renaissance of its entertainment and business areas -- strengthening its position as a major West Coast visitor and entertainment city. The float evokes images of the classic Renaissance period with sculpture-topped towers, Venetian-style architectural details and traditional red-striped canal poles.
How does this relate to the parade theme? Long Beach is displaying the ultimate "Hats Off to Entertainment" approach through its strong support of performing and fine arts throughout this vital coastal city.
The gigantic gondola is decorated with fine cut everlasting, and accented by a border of white chrysanthemums and decorative insets of ground yellow split pea; the inside walls of the craft are covered with a mixture of yellow and white strawflower. The deck -- on which the riders will offer their performances -- is created with light grey lettuce seed. The oars which "propel" the gondola are decorated with fine ground white rice. The pillars at the front of the float feature ground rice, dark flax seed and light lettuce seed. The archway (based on St. Mark's Square in Italy) is crafted of ground rice, and is accented by orange and yellow orchids; orange, yellow and hot pink roses; orange and yellow carnations, and hot pink statice -- with accents of lavender and white orchids, coco sticks and purple grapes. Featured in fine cut everlasting, ground coconut, fine cut red strawflower and blue statice are the stripped poles which dot the canals of Venice, Italy. The brickwork on the bridge is created with fine ground walnut shell, accented with onion seed and poppy seed. The canal upon which the gondola "floats" is a blending of pink, peach, orange, yellow, white and lavender roses; pink, orange, peach and white carnations; pink and lavender daisies; purple, light and dark blue iris and white orchids.
Special Interest Information:
Long Beach is where the action begins and the fun never ends. From the regal Queen Mary and spectacular Aquarium of the Pacific, to stirring opera and Broadway shows, live contemporary music venues and hundreds of exclusive night clubs and dining destinations -- all centrally located -- Long Beach is the perfect visitor and entertainment destination! In the last ten years over one billion dollars has been invested in redevelopment and new construction in the city's downtown and waterfront areas.
The 2009 LB float will be the city's 92nd consecutive float entry in Pasadena's Tournament of Roses Parade. Costs (including a professionally built float) are paid with public money budgeted by the City Council. Four years ago (entering FY 05) the budgeted amount was $115,000 from City Hall's "Special Advertising and Promotion Fund" (whose primary funding source is LB's transient occupancy (hotel room) tax. [We couldn't find a FY 09 Rose Parade cost figure, but we plan to ask about this.] Some cities raise sums for their Rose Parade entry through volunteer fundraising...and some use volunteer built (not professionally constructed) floats.
The Tournament of Roses website says the audience for the event is "approximately 40 million Americans" watching on TV plus "millions of international viewers in 150 territories around the world. The combined total HH ratings for the live and the various rebroadcasts of the 2006 Rose Parade was 15 or approximately 16.5 million households."
The event website says Pasadena PD annually estimates that about 1 million people attend the Rose Parade each year...and over the past three years an average of 70,000 people visited a viewing area for the floats in the two and half days after the Parade. (This year, there are three days of float viewing: Jan. 1, 2 & 3).
The Tournament of Roses parade says the event is broadcast live by nine networks: ABC, NBC, HGTV, Tribune, Univision, Telemundo, Travel Channel, Discovery HD Theater, Sky Link TV...and our L.A. favorite: KTLA/5.
[Comment: KTLA/5 has had the good sense to rehire Stephanie Edwards, who'll be working alongside Bob Eubanks on Jan. 1. Quality never goes out of style.]
LBReport.com readers say...
I could just weep! The money spent on that thing could bring so much badly needed to support to our city's libraries, which are facing a tragic budget shortfall and remain embarrassingly near the bottom of the nation in books and materials purchased!
Just exactly HOW is all that blah-blah-blah in the press release about the TV exposure going to keep our libraries open, buy books, fix potholes, strengthen our youth programs, pad our police and fire departments, keeps our arts programs running, rebuild crumbling infrastructure and pay the exorbitant retirements of city employees?
We are a city where close to one-third of our children live in poverty, and we are spending large dollars on a parade float?!!
WHERE is our city's leadership and wisdom in this expenditure? WHY can't LB design and build its own floats? We have world-class artists living here, a university and community college with outstanding arts and engineering departments, and a citizenry, young and old, that turns out to volunteer at the merest whisper of a need.
I am just stunned that mere months after we were told that budgetary shortfalls were going to close our library's doors, this is thrown in our faces. Let 'em eat cake and smell the roses!
Mary Hancock Hinds
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