Jan. 1, 2015 UPDATE: Congrats to DigAlert for winning the Rose Parade’s Bob Hope Humor Trophy! And it was so cold in Pasadena this morning (32 degrees) that the real water would not spurt as it was supposed to from the broken pipes. Oh well!
“Inspiring Stories” is the theme of the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade. While there apparently won’t be any inspiring snowboarding or adoptable dogs on floats, as there have been in recent parades, an animated dog wreaking havoc with a backhoe is featured on the DigAlert float, “Do It Right — Call 811.”
DigAlert (aka the Underground Service Alert of Southern California) is a free service that locates underground utilities on properties in this region. It was formed in 1976 after a construction crew accidentally struck a petroleum pipeline in Culver City, causing an explosion that killed nine people and burned a city block to the ground.
“Before you stick anything in the ground, including a shovel, make sure you first contact DigAlert at www.digalert.org or call 811,” DigAlert warns in a fact sheet. “Underground utilities can be just about anywhere on a piece of property. If you hit a gas line, you could start a fire that destroys an entire neighborhood. Strike an electrical line and you could be electrocuted.”
To bring this to people’s attention, the service, which is funded by more than 900 local utilities, has created a humorous 2015 Rose Parade float, described as follows:
“The whole community has shown up to lend a helping hand to install a new bird-house condo. White picket fences line the manicured lawn bordered with colorful hollyhocks and a wisteria pergola. A crew of comical canines steadies the teetering birdhouse posts as a drilling backhoe driven by a madcap dog sporadically jerks and sputters up and down as it moves from side to side. Oh, my gosh, the backhoe auger has hit a main water pipe, and now a torrent of water is flooding the scene! Watching the zany backyard dishevelment unfold before are wide-eyed neighbors and feathery friends.”
The backhoe will emit puffs of theatrical “smoke,” while real water spurts from the broken pipes.
In keeping with the Rose Parade float rule of only using flowers and plant materials, the dogs’ fur is created from golden and brown flax seed, curly white coconut chips, dark brown nyjer seed, dried cranberry leaves, gold strawflower petals, orange-red safflower spice, orange marigold petals, silky grass, uva grass and pampas grass. (Wow.) Their eyes are decorated in black seaweed, green split peas, blue sinuate statice and brown flax seed.
As for the “Inspiring Stories” theme, Cliff Meidl will be riding on the float. In 1986, Meidl suffered an extreme electrical shock when his jackhammer touched unmarked high-voltage electrical cables at a construction site. He was told by doctors at the time that he would never walk again, but defied the odds and became a two-time Olympian and flag bearer for the USA team.
DigAlert made its Rose Parade debut in 2014 with the float, “Protecting Your Dream, Right in Your Own Backyard” — which also featured an animated dog operating a backhoe. The float won the award for Best Animation & Movement.
The 2015 Rose Parade will be broadcast Jan. 1 beginning at 8 a.m. PST on ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, NBC, Univision, RFD-TV, Family Net, Rural Radio on Sirius XM and Sky Link TV. It will also air in Los Angeles on KTLA, beginning at 5 a.m. and repeated throughout the day.
Photo via Facebook