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Mar 10, 2018
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Mar 13, 2018
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Stories
Rotary and The Rose Parade
Rotary International has a long history of participating the the Rose Bowl Parade.  

While watching the 1978 Pasadena Rose Parade on Television, Jack Gilbert, who was President of the Wilshire Rotary Club, in Los Angeles, California, and subsequently chairman of the Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee, had an idea. Rotary would be celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 1980. Jack believed that by entering a float in the 1980 New Year’s Day Rose Parade, Rotary could communicate its message, “Service Above Self” to millions of people worldwide.

Jack shared his vision with other Rotarians, who supported the idea. Seven Governors in Southern California agreed to underwrite the cost of the float and make up any shortfall not covered by Club contributions. Fortunately, the Clubs contributed $35,000 which covered the full cost of the original float.

This first Tournament of Roses experience lead to the formation of the Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee which now receives contributions each year from approximately 8 Rotary Districts and an additional 700 Individual Rotary Clubs to fund the float. The Committee has entered a float every year since 1980.

Winner of the Princesses’ Trophy
Most outstanding floral presentation among entries 35 feet and under in length

The theme of the float was “Planting the Seeds of Service”  At a glance, the whimsical bunny gazing at the just planted peach tree appears to be in shape and form like any other float entry. However, if you look beyond the flowers, beyond the plant material, what you will find is the story of a child hungry for food, drinking bacteria infested water; the story of a mother fighting to take care of her family; the story of a family living in a region of conflict struggling to survive. If you look deeper you will begin to see the bunny as a symbol of the watchful gaze of Rotarians’, the tree as a symbol of life, growing the seeds of service provided by Rotarians’ world wide; and, bearing the fruit of Rotary’s Six Areas of Focus giving hope to all children, all mothers, and all families for a better world. To enhance this message a real sapling from one of Hiroshima’s A-Bomb survivor trees was on the float and later planted in one of Rotary’s Peace Gardens to help promote peace and a green legacy. The 2018 Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee Float is a story of responsibility to our planet, our children, and humanity.

Constructed by the Phoenix Decorating Company

Joe Ramos, Chair
Riders and Outwalkers

     
    Tournament of Roses Princess Trophy Winner!
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