2022 Rose Parade | SPTOR Comes Up with Creative Ways to Raise Funds for City Float

With major fundraising events still sidelined on account of COVID-19, the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses continues to look for new ways to raise funds for its next float in the New Year’s Day spectacle

RENDERING: Richard Carlow | SouthPasadenan.com News | The 2021 Tournament of Roses float design for South Pasadena, 'Sky's the Limit'

Hearing no discouraging words – yet – South Pasadena Tournament of Roses officials are pressing on as if the 2022 Rose Parade will take place.

For local float builders, plans to proceed in anticipation of the floral spectacle next New Year’s Day in Pasadena are still on target, until they hear differently.

“We look at the coming months just like any other year,” said Brant Dunlap, the SPTOR committee president, disappointed the 2021 event was cancelled on account of COVID-19, but is hopeful better days are ahead for the annual get-together.    

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His committee of volunteers meet regularly by Zoom and soon will be finalizing dimensions for the City of South Pasadena’s newest entry – “Sky’s the limit” – along with selecting colors for a final float design rendering. In addition, workers have begun prepping the float’s chassis, making necessary repairs and adjustments to its engine, in anticipation to the city’s Festival of Balloons Parade along Mission Street on the July Fourth.

“That’s one of the highlights of the year for us, showing our chassis as we all climb aboard and wave to the crowd,” noted Dunlap, pleased that, as of today, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses is moving forward with plans for 2022 Rose Parade. “All of this is being done, of course, under strict local health guidelines for us to work safely in small groups. There are still concerns looming over everyone regarding safety and large crowds gathering. Like last year, the Tournament of Roses will be evaluating the circumstances and plan on making an official announcement (about the parade) in mid-year.”

Later this month, Dunlap will be part of a Zoom call with other self-built float operators and Pasadena Tournament of Roses directors, who will discuss the future of the parade. The City of South Pasadena is one of six floats in the Rose Parade constructed entirely by volunteers. Corporate sponsors and large organizations commercially build the other entries for top dollar.

How to pay for South Pasadena’s float is a major year-long task, featuring multiple fundraisers like a golf tournament, classic car show and silent and live auction dinner. With the coronavirus pushing most aside last year, it will take a yeoman’s effort for Dunlap’s team to reach the necessary totals to pay for a float that comes with a price tag between $80,000 to $100,000, factoring in steel and flowers each year.

Local float organizers feel like they’re a little ahead of the game following a successful 2020 Crunch Time Party, the dinner/auction fundraiser that was held virtually last December and raised more than $35,000. Combined with a spillover from the previous year’s event, along with some contributing dollars from community members, SPTOR has a jumpstart on raising funds for the next parade, but Dunlap warns much more needs to be done in that area, especially with the uncertainty of how the virus could change the situation.

Not wanting to look back, Dunlap is confident better days are ahead. “Although we lost a substantial amount of fundraising monies over the past year we will be ready to build our 2022 float,” he insisted.This is partly because we did not spend any money this last year, and we had a little base built up from our 2019 Crunch Time Party. We have full confidence this year’s float looks to be funded, but that doesn’t mean we can stop fundraising, but have to keep it going, continuing to find new and different ways to make it happen. As many know, it’s a year round process to send a float down Colorado Boulevard in January.”

And efforts to put money in the bank for the float never seem to stop. In recent months, the committee has turned to See’s Candies to help in the fundraising effort. As part of its 2021 Spring Fundraising effort, SPTOR is looking to the community to purchase everything from assorted chocolates; lollypops; buttery, crunchy peanut brittle; nuts and chews; and more from the confectionary giant to defray the costs. The springtime candy sales effort comes on the heels of a successful Valentine’s Day campaign launched by the organization.

“During this difficult time we’re thinking outside the box to raise funds for our float,” said Dunlap. “We hope everyone will find something from See’s to their liking, place an order, and lend a hand to our city entry for the 2022 Rose Parade. Every little bit helps and we appreciate the contribution so much.”   

All orders, simply by going to www.SPTOR.org, must be received by end of day on March 16.