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Bearing down on Rose Parade

May 01, 2004

Mark R. Madler

Three years ago, Bill and Carol Cotter submitted a drawing of a

family of bears having a backyard barbecue for the city's Rose Parade

float- design contest.

The design, Carol Cotter recalled, didn't make it as a finalist

in the contest judged by members of the Burbank Tournament of Roses

Assn.

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Flash forward to 2004, and the Cotters, of Granada Hills and

association members, submitted the bear family design again. This

time, it not only was among the seven finalists, but was chosen in

February by the association as its float for the 2005 parade.

"What was exciting for us is they picked it because they wanted to

win an award for the association," Carol Cotter said.

On Tuesday, the Burbank City Council gave its approval for the

float design, one of only six still made by volunteers for the Rose

Parade. The drawing presented to the council was done by Stacia

Martin, a friend of the Cotters.

More than 80 designs were submitted this year, so the association

did not have a shortage of ideas to choose from, said Bob Hutt, an

association vice president.

"The drawings run the gamut," Hutt said. "We'll get them from 8-

and 9-year-olds with stick figures to professional artists with

really good drawing skills."

The theme of the 2005 parade is "Celebrate Family" and the

Cotters' design, titled "Dinner's on ... Fire!" depicts a family of

bears having a backyard barbecue gone awry as the father bear lost

focus on cooking because he's swatting at a pesky bee instead.

"It was meant to be humorous as well as family-oriented," Cotter

said. "Burbank likes to use as much humor as possible."

Between now and the parade on New Year's Day, association members

will spend time at a Burbank Water & Power facility on Lake Street

working on the float. Chicken wire and bedsheets are the main

material used to construct the characters. The flowers used on the

float are ordered in the spring to be available in December.

"It's amazing that a core group of volunteers can produce one of

these every year," Cotter said.

With the design in place, the next step is to have working

drawings done to show the actual dimensions of the characters and

structural points that will hold up the rest of the float, Hutt said.

The busiest time on the float is the week between Christmas and

New Year's Day, when the most volunteers are involved with attaching

the flowers.

"You go in the day after Christmas and it's not much," Cotter

said. "By the end of the week, it's a beautiful gorgeous thing."

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