Caitlin Donnell

Just after ushering in the new year, the Cal Poly Rose Float took to the streets of Pasadena on Jan. 2.

The fairy wonderland with a giant dragon, waterfall and tree house castle marked the 58th consecutive Tournament of Roses Parade entry by Cal Poly students.

The annual float is a yearlong joint project between Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona. This year’s float was entitled “Enchanted Reverie” to follow the parade’s theme, “It’s Magical.”

This year marked the first time in 51 years that it rained on parade day, making float decorations and mechanics difficult to maintain.

“There were some challenges, but people on the parade route were happy with it and that’s what’s important,” said Greg Gonzales, a junior materials engineer and assistant construction chair for the float.

The biggest problem occurred with the engine built by Pomona students, which operated the animation. The engine became water logged due to the rain, causing the float to leak.

“I was sitting under a waterfall the whole time, and not the waterfall that was supposed to be there,” said Gonzales, who was seated under the float.

Despite these difficulties, the students that worked on the float still thought that it was a successful experience.

“It’s great because we get something unstructured and run with it,” Gonzales said.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Rose Float committee has four employees and dozens of volunteers that worked around the clock starting early December. Committee members worked over 300 hours each, prior to the parade.

Cal Poly students spent eight weekends in Pomona after they moved the float on Nov. 5.

In addition to the many hours spent on the float, it is also a huge financial project. This year’s float cost approximately $320,000. Much of this money is raised through donations from the community.

“This year was a very expensive float for us,” said Andrew Brooks, a junior mechanical engineer and construction chair.

The two campuses raised about $120,000 and over $100,000 were donated. However, Cal Poly’s float was still the least expensive one in the parade this year.

The next step for the committee is to disassemble the float. The float is removed and the flowers are torn off and recycled but the steel is reused.

“Forget building it; it’s all about tearing it apart,” said Nick Hellewell, a junior mechanical engineer and rose parade club member.

The 2007 parade theme will be announced Jan. 21, and preparation for the new float will begin immediately.

The committee doesn’t get much of a break, which was obvious from their post-parade tradition.

“Sleep. That’s our tradition,” Gonzales said.

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