What’s behind Rotary’s Rose Parade theme?

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The design for Rotary’s 2018 Rose Parade float.

Each year, hundreds of Rotarian volunteers from a variety of California communities, plus some visiting Rotarians from elsewhere, labor long and hard to create a themed float for the iconic Tournament of Roses Parade held in Pasadena, CA.

Before the hands-on work begins, a committee composed of 83 members from 27 Rotary Districts in the U.S. and Canada meets monthly to plan the design and logistics of the project.

The 129th annual extravaganza will begin at 11 a.m. (EST) Monday, January 1. You’ll have plenty of choices from among TV channels scheduled to show the parade — ABC, NBC, HGTV, Hallmark Channel, and RFD TV.

If you tune in to the telecast, you’ll be able to see the Rotary float in the 49th position in the parade, just after the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band and just before Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek riding in a 1924 Model TT truck.

Rotary’s theme this time around is “Planting the Seeds of Service.” It will depict a whimsical bunny gazing at a just-planted peach tree that appears in shape and form to be like any other float entry. As most people know, every surface of every float is required to be covered by living flowers, tree bark, grasses, and other such materials.

However, if you look beyond those components, you’ll see the Rotary float actually is the story of a child hungry for food, drinking bacteria-infested water; the story of a mother fighting to take care of her family; the story of a family living in a region of conflict struggling to survive. If you look deeper you will

Click here to download the new Tournament of Roes Parade app.

begin to see the bunny as a symbol of the watchful gaze of Rotarians, the tree as a symbol of life, growing the seeds of service provided by Rotarians worldwide, and bearing the fruit of Rotary’s “Six Areas of Focus” giving hope to all children, all mothers, and all families for a better world.

To enhance this message, a real sapling from one of Hiroshima’s atomic bomb survivor trees will be on the float. It later will be planted in one of Rotary’s Peace Gardens to help promote peace and a green legacy.

Click here to access the Rotary Float Committee’s Facebook page.


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