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Carson’s first Rose Parade float in 25 years celebrates city’s 50th anniversary

Carson officials have released design plans for the city’s first float entry into the Rose Parade in a quarter century, an end-of-the-rainbow-jackpot-inspired theme.

A treasure chest overflowing with gold and jewels will fill the back of the float, and a City Hall fountain surrounded by palm trees is featured in the front. The treasure chest will be filled with charms depicting city businesses.

The design — hatched privately among Mayor Al Robles, Councilman Jawane Hilton and a few staffers — celebrates the city’s 50th anniversary as it seeks to distance itself from its history as an industrial haven and attract more shoppers and tourists.

While design plans for most floats in the New Year’s Day procession were released in October, Carson withheld details about its float.

“We were concerned that if we released it earlier, people would want to make changes, edits, modifications,” Robles said. “And in order to minimize that, we decided to hold it in confidence.”

The city’s float will join 38 others in the morning parade along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena that’s broadcast globally.

“Carson used to participate quite regularly, but it’s been 25 years since we last participated,” Robles said. “As we are celebrating our 50th anniversary, we made a decision to focus our efforts and reapply to participate in this grandaddy-of-them-all parades on New Year’s Day.

Robles said he wanted to include Goodyear blimp and IKEA signage on the float but was denied by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses’ Executive Committee. Carson is home to one of only three Goodyear blimp bases in the country as well as one of only two IKEA stores in L.A. County.

The city contracted with Fiesta Parade Floats, the self-described “longest tenured builder in the Rose Parade” in Irwindale at a cost of $275,000. The company built the city’s last award-winning float in 1990 — it featured Betty Boop in a hot yellow convertible and received the Governor’s Trophy for the best depiction of life in California.

But money troubles forced the city to stop participating in the iconic “festival of flowers” that precedes the Rose Bowl game in Pasadena.

The cost of Carson’s float will be entirely covered by private contributions, city officials said. Macerich, a Santa Monica real estate investment company that’s building an outlet mall in Carson, contributed $125,000. Logistics company Prologis donated $70,000, while Watson Land Co. paid $35,000 and The Carson Cos. contributed $15,000.

The city is still raising money for as-yet-uncovered costs, selling $10 roses and $5 raffle tickets to see the University of Georgia face off against the University of Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.

Commemorative bricks are being sold for $150 and $200 each, and residents who want to help judge float entries on Dec. 31 can pay $50 for city-contracted transportation to Irwindale.

As of Tuesday, the city raised almost $2,000 selling roses and raffle tickets.



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