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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Rose Parade Float Sculptors Cast a Spell on Parade Watchers

Rose Parade Float Sculptors Cast a Spell on Parade Watchers

by Pasadena Independent
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Dennis Midyett Photo by Terry Miller

Dennis Midyett
Photo by Terry Miller

By Terry Miller and Jennifer Schlueter

Today, January 1, 2015 makes the 126th Rose Parade where floats of every shape, size, color and sponsorship vie for your attention as they go down Colorado Blvd.
We’ve all seen them, every New Year Day since the 1800’s in Pasadena. Yes, those giant floats that seem to magically come alive at 8 AM and proceed almost seamlessly through the 5 ½ mile route. The process to make these floats is a little awe inspiring to some and downright impossible to imagine to others.
It takes weeks, perhaps months of preparation before even the fabrication can begin. Enter Dennis Midyett float sculptor who has been doing this for over 40 years.
Mr. Midyett has a passion for his craft of sculpting the steel, fabricating the design from conception to reality. The process takes months of meticulous and precise workmanship that few parade goers ever see. In fact, the art itself seems to be attracting less young sculptors which worries Mr. Midyett. “I hope it’s not a lost art…” he said. “The number of major sponsors has dropped and subsequently there are far less floats than ever. The cost, of course, is a major factor,” Mr, Midyett added.
The art of float sculpting in fact has been barely recognized in recent Tournament publications including the pricey 2015 Rose Parade guide. Mr. Midyett pointed out that there was only information about the floral aspects and a lot of information about the TOR President and his family.
Widely recognized as a leader in engineering throughout the industry, Fiesta Parade Floats is one of a small handful of professional float builders in the USA which consistently sets a new bar for what is possible with Rose Parade float technology. And Mr. Midyett is pleased to be affiliated with Fiesta’s computerized hydraulic animation, water irrigation, and special effects that “surpass the standard for engineering in the Rose Parade and throughout the float and prop-building industry,” according to their promotional piece.

Fiesta Parade Floats delivers safe and dependable float construction, bringing designs to life in a way that will best support the engineering and floral technology. From concept to structure, the construction process is guided by a team with decades of float building experience like Mr. Midyett.
During our visit to Fiesta Floats in Irwindale 2 days before the big day, Beacon Media got a back stage pass to see the last minute touches that make these floats so magical each year.
One of the floats Fiesta has been commissioned for is the AIDS Healthcare Foundation which this year honors the Ebola first responders: doctors, nurses and medical assistants who have worked and are working to contain Ebola.
Once thoroughly decorated and inspected, the Fiesta Parade Floats crew embark on the “parade before the parade” when they drive the floats to the parade staging area in Pasadena where they are lined up to present for the public and media. Fiesta provides all of the necessary crew and float supervisors to ensure a safe journey. Float sponsors are given trailers and parking directly on the crowded parade route and can participate in the parade as extensively as is desired. Fiesta also supports the famous “Post Parade”, when the floats are staged for public viewing and additional coverage.
For more information see” www.pasadenaroseparade.com and also www.pasadenaindependent.com for a video of Mr. Midyett talking about his career as a float sculptor.

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