South Pasadena’s “Three Little Birds” entry in the 130th Pasadena Tournament of Roses (TOR) Parade on Jan. 1 received the Mayor Award for the most outstanding float from a participating city.
This award is one of two dozen honors given by the TOR judges. They recognize excellence in a variety of categories and specifications, according to the Tournament’s news release Jan. 1.
The South Pasadena float has received awards three times in the last 10 years, according to the float committee’s website. The last year it received an award was 2016 when it received a National Trophy.
On hearing the news of the award early Jan. 1 before the parade’s start, Courtney Dunlap, South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee (SPTOR) president, said, “We’re super excited. We’re all just ecstatic.”
“I’m so happy that So Pas is excited,” said Michael Berry, one of the three TOR judges.
“For me,” Berry said by email Jan. 1, “the dedication and excitement of your volunteers was evident in every detail of this moving work of art. It made me smile.” Berry is the Kentucky Derby Festival president and CEO.
Kimberly Oldis, a floral professional who was an award judge, said by text on parade day, “South Pasadena deserved it. A beautiful float!”
So Pas Mayor Marina Khubesrian said by text Jan. 1 that as mayor, she is thrilled.
“This award recognizes that this fabulous float is a citywide all-volunteer effort,” she said Jan. 1. “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to our SPTOR committee and thank all the volunteers who worked tirelessly on the float.”
Khubesrian wasn’t finished applauding the city’s entry, saying the song the float represents is one of her favorites.
“I love the colors, animation and the theme [“Three Little Birds”],” she added, “which is one of my all-time favorite Bob Marley songs.” The float featured three animated birds perched on a guitar surrounded by musical instruments and notes and singing the tune.
“The team did an outstanding job,” said Chris Colburn, float construction chair, “from construction all the way through to decoration and all the behind-the-scenes work on fundraising that all made it possible.”
The award-winning design was submitted by Mike Mera of Pasadena. Colburn said at the final judging Dec. 31 that when he saw the design months ago, he said, “yep, that’s the one.”
Councilmember Diana Mahmud said at the parade, “It was a beauty. It was stunning. It hit all the right notes,” she said, referring to the TOR Parade theme, The Melody of Life. Mahmud was at the parade start on Orange Grove Avenue as one of three South Pasadena official horse “pooper scoopers.” Others from the city were Peggy O’Leary and Laurie Wheeler, Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.
Wheeler noted at the parade that this was truly a South Pasadena-sourced float. “They went to the Arroyo Nature Park to collect eucalyptus bark for the guitar,” she said. “It’s truly a labor of love.”