Before the event, we hid the details of our Public Storage Rose Parade float so that it would be a special surprise on New Year's Day. We didn't want people to know that the spaceship would open up and our three "space" aliens would glide out to greet the crowd. Now that the parade is over, however, we can't wait tell you more about our Grand Marshal's Trophy prize winner and how it worked!
First, you should know that there was a team of six people on board the float as it moved down the parade route. They steered the mother ship and made sure its theatrical smoke exhaust pushed out at the right time. And they drove and animated the three aliens. The team practiced for months in secret for their special day.
The drivers of the aliens, which rode on the back of the main float for much of the parade, were inundated with excited texts from friends when Adventures in Space moved past live TV cameras and was revealed to the world for the first time. And by the time they made it towards the end of the parade New Year's Day, news of the float had spread to parade watchers even before they saw it for the first time. The crowd chanted "Open up! Open up!" to encourage the team to start another alien show.
As you can see below, the front view from inside the alien floats was very limited, which made it challenging to drive.The five men and one woman on board all wore headsets to communicate and ensure everything went smoothly.
Here's the side view.
And the inside view.
The main driver sat in a cramped space accessible from behind our logo on the left side of the float, toward the rear. The logo had hinges on it and was a actually a flower-covered door.
Todd, a volunteer fire captain in his home town, drove the main float and has driven several others starting in 1990. His father also drove floats.
Well before all of the flowers were added, talented welders worked with "pencil" steel to give fancy utility carts alien personality and charm.
On the mother ship, flowers hid giant structural steel beams needed to support the ramps and hydraulic lifts that made the float work and that contributed to its 45,000-pound weight.
Our float had its first test drive in front of Rose Parade officials a few weeks ago, on a rainy Saturday.
Work on the float continued even in the minutes before judging Dec. 31 and with final flourishes added just before the parade New Year's Day.
by Ann Griffith