PHOTO GALLERY: Putting together a Tournament of Roses Parade float

By Connie Chung, 15, Gabrielino High School
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Connie Chung spent a Saturday in December helping decorate a Rose parade float.

One of Southern California’s favorite traditions is the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. Many people camp out the night before on the streets of Colorado Boulevard to get the best views for the live action, but I usually have slept in my comfy bed and watched the parade on TV with a cup of hot cocoa. But this year, things were different. I volunteered to help with preparation, so for me watching the Rose parade was a lot more exciting because I can actually say, "I helped create those floats."

A service club at my school volunteers every year at the Duarte City of Hope Center where we help put together the floats. They divide it up into "dry" and "wet" days. Dry days are when you cut flowers into itty-bitty, confetti-like pieces. You also peel flowers and do other prepping.

On wet days, you bring life to the floats by gluing the flowers, nuts, seeds and other vegetable matter onto them. There was a lot of work to be done, and volunteers were there from 8 in the morning until 8 at night. There were many other schools, clubs, scouts, volunteers and families all helping out and having fun at the same time. We also got a lunch break and time to take off from all the work. One day, everyone got free pizza. It was an awesome experience.

When you can actually say you helped create something unique, that’s a remarkable feeling that no one can replace.