PASADENA, Calif. - Tours opened Thursday morning for people interested in previewing the floats for the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade and Georgia fans were some of the first to get a sneak peek.
"We just cannot believe they can put that many roses on a float," said Sally Mobley, who came all the way from Athens for the Rose Bowl and toured the Rosemont Pavilion with a group of about 200 other UGA fans.
Visitors watched as volunteers cut flowers, glued cotton, rice and other natural materials to the structures of the large, intricate designs.
"There's a lot of floats with a lot of movement this year and so that's what you really want to look for trying to see how they're moving," explained Robert Newton, who serves as captain of VIP tours for Rosemont Pavilion. "We have a big dragon where the eyes are going to be moving back and forth. So, it'll be quite fun and entertaining for everybody."
The finished floats will be the culmination of about a year's worth of work, said Newton. Groups who want to participate in the parade submit their concepts to the Tournament of Roses each February. Parade officials choose more than 40 winning designs and the physical work begins in June.
Volunteers will wait until closer to parade day to add many of the fresh flowers that make the floats so iconic. Newton said the high temperatures forecast for the area this week mean they must wait a little longer to put the flowers in place.
"Right now the things that are going on the float are dry goods, things that will last or flowers that will last. So, the most vulnerable flowers, either the orchids or the roses, they'll go on in the next couple of days, but the cooler the weather, the better for us," Newton revealed.
Mobley called the Rose Bowl "a bucket list item" and was excited to enjoy every aspect of the celebration.
"It is unbelievable. It is the best experience ever and we're just soaking in every moment with all the people that are supporting Georgia for the entire week," said Mobley.
Visitors can tour the Rosemont Pavilion to see the floats through Sunday.