Some people mark their birthdays with dinner out or a slice of cake. La Cañada Flintridge native Randy Bartos, though, has slightly different plans for his Jan. 2 birthday — lying inside a float, surrounded by hydraulic levers and animation switches while traveling down the Rose Parade route.
It’s a pretty good way to spend a birthday, he said.
“I love being squeezed into a tight, confined space where I cannot turn around, that is very cold when the parade starts and very hot when the parade ends,” he joked.
Being a part of the parade is nothing new to Bartos, a Sunland resident who’s worked on La Cañada’s float entries since the inaugural “Horse Play” made its debut in 1979. A mechanical engineer for JPL, Bartos builds and programs hydraulic systems and will contribute to the animation of this year’s entry, “If pigs could fly.”
Rarely does his birthday and the Rose Parade fall on the same day. This year, the normally New Year’s Day event will be postponed until Jan. 2, in keeping with the tradition that it never take place on a Sunday. Because of this, Bartos, who will turn 45, and three other La Cañada float builders — 17-year-old triplets Adam, Brett and Chad Rhatz — will celebrate an occasion that won’t occur again until 2017.