Changing of the Guard | South Pasadena Tournament of Roses

Courtney Dunlap takes over as president of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | | Courtney Dunlap believes she might be the youngest president ever of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee.

Courtney Dunlap, the newest president of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses (SPTOR), hopes others will join the committee responsible for constructing and decorating the city’s float in the Rose Parade each year.

It’s simple to get on board. Those working behind the scenes responsible for deciding on the float’s theme and design, coming up with ideas to raise funds to pay for it and make other the key decisions meet once a month on the first Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at South Pasadena City Hall.

Dunlap welcomes the public to join the fun. “We’re always looking for some help,” she said. “We’ve got people who have been here 10 plus years and we’re ready for some others to come in with fresh ideas.”

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The SPTOR President says there’s something for everybody who decides to add their knowledge to an already dedicated group taking enormous pride in building the finished product that rolls down Colorado Boulevard to the delight of thousands enjoying the New Year’s Day spectacle and millions more watching it worldwide on television.

“Come and be part of us,” said Dunlap, perhaps the youngest president in South Pasadena Tournament of Roses history at age 26.

She earned a patch as a Brownie in Girl Scouts when given an opportunity at an early age to work on the float. Later, as a sophomore at South Pasadena High, Dunlap earned service hours and a few years later she accepted positions on the float’s board of directors. A year ago, outgoing president Janet Madrigal asked Dunlap to be her VP and she agreed. On and off, she’s been around the city’s float for about 20 years. The past two years Dunlap has held the responsibility for organizing the Crunch Time Party, the largest revenue generating fundraiser. The event brings the community together for a dinner and auction – both live and silent – in the War Memorial Room three days before the Rose Parade.

Dunlap plans to take on the party responsibilities again this year, along with her role as SPTOR president and a full-time job as an assistant manager with Trader Joe’s.

The float, she will tell you, is the essence of what makes South Pasadena so special. “We’re such a close-knit community, and having something that is so nationally known as the Rose Parade, and being a part of it, is really important,” said Dunlap, noting that the city’s entry is a way “to rekindle friendships, meet old friends, neighbors and is just an important tradition we need to keep it going. I don’t want the city to ever not have the float.”

She will do her part over the next two years as president to maintain the high honor with enormous pride and respect for the position.

“I’m excited, ecstatic, nervous – all the emotions rolled into one,” said Dunlap, recognizing she has a strong committee and dedicated past presidents to give her support. “I’m really confident this is going to be an award-winning year.”