2013 Dole Rose Parade Float: "Dreaming of Paradise"

I've lived in So Cal my entire life and one thing is a constant: New Year's Rose Parade in Pasadena. My Dad used to live a block away from Colorado Boulevard, right in the middle of the parade route. Once I was old enough to be out on the streets past midnight, we would hang out at his house on January 31st, taking in all of the sights and sounds. People would set up camp along Colorado Blvd, bundled up warmly, sitting in camping chairs, roasting marshmallows, playing cards, listening to music, sleeping in tents, guaranteeing themselves a prime location to view the parade the following morning.

It was bananas.

I was not prepared for the amount of people that take up the streets in Pasadena on January 31st. But it was one of those missing the forest for the trees scenarios because I was so entranced with the nightlife of New Year's Eve that I never fully appreciated the amazing things happening the next day: the Rose Parade!

I was recently invited by the lovely people at DOLE to come out and check out their amazing float that was in progress at Fiesta Floats. The theme of this year's parade is "Oh, The Places You'll Go". This year, Dole decided to take us to the Rainforest.

Heading out to Irwindale, where most of the Rose Parade floats are constructed.  Why? It's a short drive to Pasadena.

The people at Dole treated us wonderfully--lots of delicious food and samples of my favorite things: Pineapple Juice, Dole Shakers and Banana Dippers. You can find dessert recipes from DOLE here.
My boys in front of the amazing "Dreaming of Paradise" float, inspired by the rainforest.

The entire float is covered in natural items: seeds, herbs, nuts, grains, fresh flowers, dried flowers, bark, etc.

Dole Family Day was gracious enough to have an In-n-Out truck so you know my boys were in Double Double Animal Style-heaven.

In addition to seeds and herbs, throughout the float there are fresh and healthy fruits, including bananas, pineapples, mangoes, papayas, peaches, strawberries and blueberries that were grown by DOLE just for this use on the float. How many other floats can brag about that?

I finally got to meet the lovely Eva Smith from TechFoodLife.com

Raul Rodriquez, the man who designed this amazing float, along with his blue hyacinth macaw, Sebastian. What a gentle soul Mr. Rodriguez was! Very talented, as well.

My husband sort of fell in love with Sebastian. You could say they bonded. 

How cute are they?

It is one thing to see a parade float on TV and quite another to see it in person. The float was huge--55 feet long, 18 feet wide and stands over 26 feet tall, to be exact. What sets Dole's Dreaming of Paradise apart from the other floats in the 2013 Rose Parade lineup? A 26-foot massive volcano which will erupt with smoke, steam and fire shooting 20 feet into the sky. It will also feature a lush tropical rain forest of Latin America with prowling tigers, butterflies, chimpanzees, parrots, and dragonflies. There are also three waterfalls that feature over 1,000 gallons of cascading recycled water as well as a misting system add to the tropical mood. I think that is pretty amazing, don't you?

Image source: Fiesta Parade Floats Twitter

I have a whole new appreciation for the Rose Parade and the artistry of the floats featured in them. Thank you, DOLE, for inviting us to join you for a preview of your Rose Parade float. It was a blast!

Don't miss the 124th Annual Rose Parade tomorrow at 8am PST. DOLE is vying to become the only company to win the Sweepstakes award every year they have entered: three-peat!

Disclaimer: I was invited by DOLE to visit their Family Day festivities. I was not compensated and all opinions are 100% my own.

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