When the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association's Rose Parade float makes its way down Colorado Boulevard on New Year's Day, hundreds of volunteers of all ages can say with pride that they helped make it happen.
Cheery swarms of teens and adults spent much of this week applying the finishing touches to "3-2-1 Dig!" — a lively floral landscape in which three full-motion animated construction machines work to build a playground under the watchful eyes of curious gophers.
More than 17,000 carnations are giving the moving machines their familiar bright yellow, 150 square feet of wheat grass is becoming healthy green lawn and ground seeds and beans are making for exposed dirt. Ground carrots are brightening orange safety cones. Blue irises are transforming into water, palm fiber becomes gopher fur, and multi-colored potatoes and a rice-cornmeal grout are coming together as lifelike stone walls.
In the middle of it all is longtime association volunteer and membership chair Sarah Marshall, whose job it is to coordinate the army of teens and adults who come together for the final float-decoration process — a weeklong blitz of biodegradable artwork that caps off a whole year of engineering, design and construction work to build the moving canvass.