Cal Poly universities snagged another award at Monday's 129th Rose Parade in Pasadena.
The float "Dreams Take Flight," designed and constructed by students from Cal Poly's San Luis Obispo and Pomona campuses, received the Past President Award for "outstanding innovation in the use of floral and nonfloral materials" during the annual New Years Day tradition.
“This year’s float flies high on a history built on Learn by Doing stretching back seven decades,” Jeffrey D. Armstrong, Cal Poly president, said of the universities' milestone 70th float.
“Just like their counterparts who made history with the inaugural 1949 float, ‘Dreams Take Flight’ is yet another example of what Cal Poly students offer the world: creativity, technical know-how, leadership, a proven work ethic and a love of life.”
The 18- by 54-foot float blended mechanics with conventional floral decorations to depict three animatronic animals — Paula the Koala, Ollie the Otter and Rusty the Red Panda — piloting intricately decorated planes across a backdrop of clouds. The theme was selected from more than 100 proposals submitted last year by students, local communities, alumni and friends of the Cal Poly Rose Float program
The float featured 45,000 roses, daises, irises and a variety of mums in addition to various grasses and other dry or fresh materials. Ninety-seven percent of the materials were produced in California, earning the universities their seventh "California Grown" designation from the California Cut Flower Commission.
Josh D’acquisto, Cal Poly’s Rose Parade float adviser, called the recognition "huge."
“This is a fantastic award, not one that we’ve ever won before,” he said. “The students put an exceptional amount of planning and effort into their floral plan this year … I think that played into it.”
This year's float was the 70th in Cal Poly's history. Their joint entry has won more than 50 awards since 1948, including the Founder Award in 2017.