Build a Float for the Palisades Fourth of July

One of the most common laments about the Pacific Palisades Fourth of July Parade is the lack of eye-catching floats.

Palisades Americanism Parade Association float organizer Kathleen Rogers invited Ginny Barnett, who is serving her seventh year as president of the Burbank Tournament of Roses Association and Steven Edwards, who is vice president of floats, to answer questions at the Palisades Recreation Center on June 2.

Hank Elder (left) received float-building tips from Steven Edwards.

They provided a few simple tips:
1. Design a float around the theme;
2. Find a base, which might mean renting a U-Haul trailer, using a pick-up truck or even golf carts;
3. Working with foam, wood and chicken wire will be the easiest materials for designs. Edwards showed how you can cut Styrofoam with a dry-wall saw, and how pool noodles and even pipe insulation can be sawed in half and used;
4. Papier-mâché can be applied to chicken wire to make different shapes or even faces; 5. Get a lot of people to help—and those people could wear t-shirts and walk next to the float in the parade.

Barnett and Edward emphasized that people should be planning their floats for July 4 as soon as possible.

In addition to building a float for the Pasadena Rose Parade, they prepare one for the smaller Burbank parade. “Even with the little parade we start [planning] two months before we start building,” Edwards said.

And finally, “Oriental Trading Company is a float builder’s best friend,” Barnett said. A book with float design samples is available for visitors to study at American Legion Post 283 on La Cruz.

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