Schmitt, left and Briana Baptiste of San Juan
Capistrano placing straw flowers on Rotary International,
"All The Places We Go!" float. Thousands
of high school and college students volunteer
to decorate floats for the Tournament of Roses
Parade floats at Rosemont Pavilion in Pasadena
Thursday, December 27, 2012. (SGVN/Photo by
day after Christmas is the beginning of "Hell
Week" for Dave Wallach of Hacienda Heights. That's
when he starts organizing thousands of volunteers
who work day and night decorating the Kiwanis International
float for Tuesday's Tournament of Roses Parade.
district chairman of the Kiwanis International Rose
Float Committee, has the monumental task of scheduling
7,000 volunteers - the size of a small city.
been working on the floats from 5 a.m. to midnight,"
he said. "And I'm there most of the time."
Hacienda Heights resident is like a floor manager,
slotting volunteer workers from local high schools
and colleges to paste flowers, glue seeds, etc. onto
the bare floats.
been working on the floats for 12 years and every
year is a different challenge," Wallach said.
Kiwanis Club works with Phoenix Decorating Co. affixing
flowers to more than 10 Tournament of Roses floats
at the company's Rosemont Pavilion in Pasadena.
year, Kiwanis International is sponsoring a float
called "A Child's Magic Carpet Ride." The
Arabian Nights fantasy features a flying carpet with
of the riders will be 13-year-old Parvene Barimani
of Hacienda Heights. Her brother, Firuze, is the president
of the Key Club at Wilson High School.
"The Hacienda Heights Kiwanis had an opportunity
drawing to ride on the float and Firuze bought a ticket
for his sister," Wallach explained.
floats are a big deal for local students, many of
whom belong to the Key Clubs and Kiwin's groups sponsored
by the Kiwanis.
than 90 percent of our volunteers are high school
and college students. The kids are fantastic; they
really come through for us every year," Wallach
can have up to 500 students working on a shift. The
kids come from all around Los Angeles, including Los
Altos, La Puente, Wilson, Rowland and Diamond Bar
High has already been here and Diamond Bar High has
a lot of volunteers this year," he said. "The
Rose Parade float has become the biggest community
service project in Kiwanis International."
spend up to eight hours a day working on the floral
floats. Wallach at times has been running two shifts,
one from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a second shift that
finishes at 11 p.m.
the work is tedious, but the high schoolers don't
seem to mind. For example, one job entails cutting
thousands of flowers and placing each one in a vial
of water. The live flowers are placed on the floats
a day or two before the parade.
of the flowers are very delicate, so we can't put
them on too early," Wallach noted.
inch of a Rose float has to be covered by organic
the amazing floats roll down Colorado Boulevard Tuesday
morning makes the monumental effort all worthwhile.
a lot of work every year, but I love it," Wallach
concluded. "The week after the parade, Phoenix
will show us their designs for the next year and we
start all over again."