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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 12:28 am | Fair 51º


Cal Poly Students Float Out-of-This-World Concept for New Year’s Day Rose Parade

The San Luis Obispo and Pomona campuses join forces on 'Far Out Frequencies,' featuring a pair of astronauts and animated aliens

Cal Poly Rose Parade float
Cal Poly students work on their “Far Out Frequencies” float for the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day. (Cal Poly Pomona photo)

Students and volunteers have launched the final leg of the race to finish Cal Poly’s far-out entry ahead of the Tournament of Roses Parade on Tuesday.

“Far Out Frequencies,” designed and built by teams of students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona, will join 43 other floats for this year’s New Year’s Day parade in Pasadena.

The float features a pair of astronauts and a half-dozen animated alien friends on another planet communicating through music. 

The trip along the parade route will be the culmination of a year of work, starting with selecting the concept from 150 ideas submitted by students, communities, alumni and friends of the Cal Poly Rose Float program.

“This year’s theme for the parade is 'Melody of Life,' which I think Cal Poly harmonizes with this, as we’ve always had constant communication between both Cal Poly SLO and Pomona,” student Lara Steinwinter of Aliso Viejo said, adding that the theme perfectly embodies the motto and team.

She is in a unique position since she spent her first two years studying architecture at the Pomona campus before transferring to the San Luis Obispo university with plans to graduate in the spring with a degree in marketing.

The two campuses, separated by 240 miles, have a 71-year history of joining forces to participate in the parade. 

For float builders, the day after Christmas through New Year's Eve marks Decorations — or Deco — Week in Pasadena, when students and community volunteers add thousands of colorful blooms.

“Rose Float has introduced me to people who are central in my life, and getting to work the late nights during Design and Deco Week, although tiring, is a great bonding experience," said Steinwinter, who is working on her third float and serving as vice president. “Getting to watch the float go down Colorado Boulevard is something out of a dream, looking at the float and knowing that people all over the world will see something we put our hearts into for months.”

Cal Poly Rose Parade float Click to view larger
The design for this year’s Cal Poly float for the New Year’s Day parade.  (Cal Poly Pomona photo)

The 48-foot-by-18-foot entry stands 23 feet tall and uses animation to breathe life into the space encounter between astronauts Morgan and Sally and the residents of an alien planet, according to Cal Poly spokesman Jay Thompson. 

Astronauts use musical instruments to share their message of goodwill with a half-dozen one-, two- and three-eyed aliens, leading to out-of-this-world fun. 

By parade day, the float will boast 7,000 roses, 7,200 Gerbera daisies, 3,200 irises and 200 red cabbages as well as white cushion mums and button mums — enough floral material to cover 2,572 square feet of float area, Thompson said.

The Cal Poly entries do more than appear in the parade; they also have captured awards, totaling 57 so far. In 2018, the Cal Poly float won the Past President Award honoring the most outstanding innovation in the use of floral and nonfloral materials.

Through the years, the Cal Poly floats also have garnered praise for innovative features such as computer-controlled animation and hydraulic systems.

Tuesday's entry also will include a water feature. An alien planet flower will squirt water in a laminar-flow fashion to a different location on the float, Thompson said. For viewers, this means a crystal-clear stream of water that appears as a tube across the float in dynamic color, he added.

Cal Poly Rose Parade float
The 48-foot-by-18-foot entry stands 23 feet tall and features residents of an alien planet. (Cal Poly Pomona photo)

In addition to floats covered in flowers and other natural materials, the Rose Parade will include multiple marching bands and equestrian units. 

The parade will be televised on assorted channels including ABC, NBC, HGTV, Univison, the Hallmark Channel and KTLA, with several stations repeating the broadcast throughout Tuesday.

Steinwater said she expects to have mixed emotions on parade day.

“Watching the float go down Colorado Boulevard and being so immensely proud and grateful that this float is my favorite one I’ve worked on so far, and will sadly be my last,” she said. “It’s a bittersweet moment, but I’m excited as well.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Cal Poly Rose Parade float Click to view larger
“Far Out Frequencies,” designed and built by teams of students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona, will join 43 other floats for this year’s New Year’s Day parade in Pasadena. (Cal Poly Pomona photo)

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