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CITY'S FLOAT, CELEBRATING OUR JOURNEY, AWARDED DIRECTORS’ TROPHY
San Gabriel’s municipal Centennial got off to a rousing start yesterday as the City’s first Rose Parade float in 41 years captured top honors at the 124th annual Tournament of Roses Parade. The float garnered the Directors' Award for Outstanding Artistic Merit in Design and Presentation.
More than 400,000 packed the parade route as the San Gabriel float made its turn at the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Orange Grove, with an estimated 100 million viewers worldwide. A host of City and Centennial leaders were present to watch the float as it made its appearance.
Parade officials announced the parade’s top float awards shortly after 6:15 a.m., and the results were picked up from the Tournament’s website and transmitted to the Centennial Committee just after 6:45 a.m.
Fulfilling a decades-old dream to return San Gabriel to a parade it last entered in 1972, the float project was conducted by volunteers under the direction of the Centennial Executive Committee, co-chaired by Mayor Kevin Sawkins and San Gabriel Historical Association President Mary Cammarano. Direct development and oversight was provided by a committee headed by Pam Petievich and Parks and Recreation Director Rebecca Perez. An all volunteer fundraising effort headed by Centennial Sponsorship Chairman Mario De La Torre raised the more than $155,000 needed to complete the float without any City financial subsidy.
Float riders dressed in historical attire included Mayor Kevin Sawkins, Gabrielino-Tongva Tribal Chief Anthony Morales, Father Bruce Willems of San Gabriel Mission, former Mission Play actress Camilla Lopez, and Gabrielino High School students Jacqueline Chai and Kelly Ngo.
San Gabriel’s float was also notable because it represented the premiere appearance at the parade by its newest float builder, Paradiso Parade Floats. Paradiso founder Charlie Meier was featured, along with the San Gabriel float, in a feature length profile in Monday’s Los Angeles Times, as well as in stories appearing on KTLA-5, in the Pasadena Star News and San Gabriel Sun.
There were moments of drama Monday as a smaller-than-expected contingent of volunteers braved near-record low temperatures to decorate the float, causing a race to finish the float as it was being rolled out of its tent. As the float proceeded to its judging position on Seco Street at 2:30 p.m. Monday, Paradiso staff and volunteers raced to complete the finishing touches needed for the judging.
Centennial leaders including Executive Committee members Mary Cammarano, Ellie Andrews, and Steve Preston appeared to cheer the float during the rollout. When the judges completed their final review – marked by the ringing of a bell – the audience broke into spontaneous applause. Charlie Meier, founder of the firm, shed some tears as the float successfully passed its final test.
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