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Petals, plane and pride

Volunteers hope scaled WWII-era plane, exotic flora will earn top honors at Tournament of Roses parade.

December 09, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

It’s crunch time for the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., with legions of volunteers expected to descend on the downtown warehouse this weekend to decorate the “Barnyard Aces” float.

“It’s a thrill to see the things come together through rough sketches to a color rendering to the build,” President Robert Hutt said. “When the flowers get applied it’s just amazing. And I am always so proud of the volunteers — they just start to blossom.”

Another point of pride comes in the fact that Burbank is one of only six cities that still builds its floats from start to finish. The rest hire professional engineers and welders and bring in volunteers to decorate, Hutt said.


All of the construction and decoration takes place at the Burbank Water and Power Yard, where organizers this weekend will observe as volunteers put the float through the motions.

Barnyard Aces features a large patch of green grass, big red barn and silo. But its most intricate feature is a perfectly scaled Stearman PT-17 that reaches heights of 30 feet.

The float will be covered with living grass, and thousands of unique and exotic roses, orchids and carnations. Dried magnolia leaves, culled from area residents, dried and crushed in small coffee grinders, will act as the dirt.

Rather than have a lot of intricate details, organizers concentrated on a few large-impact items, Secretary Jon Reeves said.

“From a construction standpoint, it’s basically the plane and the barn,” he said. Because of the plane’s size, most of the animation will fall to an on-board technician using a joystick. It’s the first time in more than a decade without computer-controlled animation, organizers said.

Burbank members, who are eligible for nearly every award, said they hope to continue their winning ways with “Barnyard Aces.”

Since 2000, they’ve secured coveted honors all but two years, and brought home the Queens Trophy in 2004 with “Moosic Moosic Mooosic.”

“I think we have a pretty good chance at a few of them,” Decorations Chairwoman Kate Preusser said.

For more information, visit www.burbankrose

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