The annual Tournament of Roses Parade, better known as the Rose Parade, is “America’s New Year Celebration” held in Pasadena (near Los Angeles), CA. The festival began in 1890 and features flower-covered floats, marching bands, equestrians and (since 1902) a college football game on New Year’s Day, produced by the non-profit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.
Cunard Line will make its inaugural appearance in the 122nd parade on January 1, 2011. Their float, “A Grand Celebration at Sea”, was created by award-winning Fiesta Parade Floats in collaboration with renowned artist and float designer Raul Rodriguez, an artist and conceptual designer of international acclaim.
The float will illustrate the Cunard fleet of Queens – flagship QUEEN MARY 2, QUEEN VICTORIA and QUEEN ELIZABETH — with ballroom dancing, a big band orchestra and champagne toasts. The float will also depict signature hallmarks found on a Cunard liner, including the Grand Lobby staircase and the Queens Room Ballroom. Additionally, an oversized floralgraph of Cunard’s three Queens takes center stage at the top of the float’s ascending staircases, a fitting reference to the modern fleet.
The float stands at 24 feet high, 18 feet wide and 55 feet in length, built with thousands of red Black Magic roses, purple phalaenopsis orchid sprays, green cymbidium orchids and hypericum, and white Casablanca lilies that will border the length of the float, along with more than 45,000 red Opium roses that will carpet the steps and floors. Layers of black onion seed and crisp white sweet rice will be used to adorn the distinctive shape of Cunard’s elongated bow, while shimmering deep brown flax seed will replicate the rich texture of hand-polished mahogany woods throughout the architectural features. Water waves showcased by white roses, dendrobium orchids and phalaenopsis orchids will sweep over oceans of light and dark blue iris, delphinium and hydrangea blossoms.
“We are delighted to be part of such a celebrated event like the Rose Parade,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “This year’s Rose Parade theme of building dreams, friendships and memories, ties perfectly with our legacy and heritage. For more than 170 years sailing the seven seas, the Cunard name has been synonymous with fulfilling aspirations, fostering life-long friendships, and creating memorable experiences for all of our guests.”
While I did not have detailed information on other entries over the years, I can say that Cunard Line joins a history of the Shipping Lines participating in the Rose Parade, as the once well known, local Los Angeles Steamship Company did in 1929.
MARTIN COX - Founder and publisher of MaritimeMatters, inspired by maritime culture and technology growing up in the port of Southampton. He works as a photographer in Los Angeles, and his works has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, New York, London and Iceland. Martin is the co-writer of the book “Hollywood to Honolulu; the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company” published by the Steam Ship Historical Society of America. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum has commissioned artworks and collected his photographs.