Rose Bowl Dream Comes True for Lamar Resident

Melissa Bohl of Thoughts in Bloom

Melissa Bohl of Thoughts in Bloom

Melissa Bohl of Lamar, owner of Thoughts in Bloom, will one of dozens of persons putting the finishing touches on the famous floats that will appear in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California on New Years Day. “I had to submit my name a year ago to be selected, but I’ll be traveling to California on the day after Christmas,” she said.

The design of the floats has already been pre-determined,” she explained, saying that her role will be floral applications on the floats. “The styles that will be used in the next event were determined in February,” Bohl said this gives the prime contractors almost a whole year to lay out the designs for all the entries. “There’s welding that goes on for the underlying structure. One of the floats I may work on calls for pyrotechnics and that means a lot of engineering work goes on throughout the year.”

The materials used are strictly regulated, “98% of the materials used in the floats must be organic. Some of that may be corn husks or cinnamon, nutmeg or ground up walnut shells. Some of those materials are being applied early to avoid last minute work.”

She said she was contacted by a decorating firm called Fiesta Parade Floats who use a team of 20 full time workers, year-round. Another staff of twenty people begins their tasks in December and for the final week, the company has ten volunteers who work as a team. “The company I’m working for will do eleven of the 39 floats displayed for this year’s Rose Bow Parade.”

“I was selected after I attended several education classes and seminars for Tele-flora at their Oklahoma City headquarters,” she explained. Melissa was paid a social call from some of the representatives last July when they were passing through Lamar. During the visit, she mentioned how much she’d like to help create one of the floats in the parade. “It’s one of the goals I’ve set for myself,” she told the couple. The request was passed along through channels and reached the Fiesta Parade Company.  Melissa was contacted in October to see if she was still interested.  I have to pay for all the expenses, she said, “But for me, it will be the experience of a lifetime! They only accept ten volunteers and I’m going to be one of them.”

She said the type of work she’ll do is similar to ‘paint by numbers’, taking created materials and adding them to specific areas of the float, which by that time, will be almost complete. “l’ll be assigned to a design team and they will give me direction on the tasks. I could be up on scaffolding ladders, underneath the float; I have to be prepared for anything.”  She added that these are huge floats, and some are half the length of a football field. “I’ll be working in Irwindale, CA where assembled the Fiesta Company assembles their projects.

The general work day runs between 8am to 6pm, but she may have to go as late as 11pm just before parade day because on the 31st, all the floats are moved to Pasadena for judging the day before the parade.

“I still have to find out what I’ll be doing on January 1st.  Spectators have to buy tickets to attend the parade as the route is only so long.  This parade is also a huge impact on our industry for purchases as for remaining two weeks flowers are hard to obtain as almost  all the flowers grown around the country are pre-ordered for the parade,” she said.

Bohl has been in the flower business since she opened her store on July 1st in 2004. “I have always enjoyed this type of work, creating some silk arrangements and handling flower and display arrangements for parties, families, friends and weddings.  I’ve been a ‘desk’ person, working for seven years for a law firm. When I found the shop was available, I discussed the opportunity with my mom, and by that March I had made my decision.”

By Russ Baldwin

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