Cal Poly Rose Float creates the only student-built float in the Pasadena Rose Parade. File Photo | Mustang News

Cal Poly Rose Float builds the only student-designed float in the entire Pasadena Rose Parade, and the team just announced an other-worldly theme for 2019’s design. And yes, there will be aliens playing accordions.

Since 1949, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona have collaborated on the creation of the annual float for the Pasadena Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. Each year, the parade chooses an overall theme to inspire entries. For 2019, the theme is “The Melody of Life,” a celebration of music.

From the 150 different entry ideas submitted, the Cal Poly Rose Float team decided on “Far Out Frequencies” as its design theme.

“Far Out Frequencies” will tell the story of two astronauts who travel deep into outer space and land on a far-away planet. There, they find aliens who cannot communicate with through language, so the astronauts take to music.

“They use musical instruments to share their message of goodwill with the aliens they encounter, leading to out-of-this-world fun and some unexpected good times,” a news release said.  

Along with a plethora of flowers grown and harvested right on campus, the float will include an astronaut strumming a guitar and moving to the music, two aliens playing an accordion and another alien attempting to lift a tuba off its head, according to the release. 

“Students from all walks of life and fields of study do all of the welding, metal shaping, machining, foam carving, woodworking, painting and flower harvesting in this one-of-a-kind experience,” Cal Poly Rose Float President Sara Novell said.

The preparations began in July, when each school started work on their half of the float. In mid-October, the two halves will be united in Pomona and the two teams will complete the float as a whole.

Cal Poly Rose Float has been invited back to participate in the parade for 71 consecutive years, winning several awards along the way. At last year’s Rose Parade, Cal Poly’s “Dreams Take Flight” float earned the Past Presidents Trophy for its use of both floral and non-floral elements.

At the 2019 Pasadena Rose Parade, Cal Poly Rose Float hopes to impress judges with its alien-inspired theme.

“This idea of unity is also shown in our float, in how the astronauts and aliens join together to create a common language,” Novell said. “We want to express the ‘Melody of Life’ by showing the power that music has in its ability to join communities of different backgrounds to create one harmonious universe.”

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