HomeCity NewsCity’s Rose Parade Float Delights More Than Just Burbankers

City’s Rose Parade Float Delights More Than Just Burbankers

First published in the Jan. 7 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Photos by David Laurell


Nicole Cavender, Jennie O’Hagan and Lois Hiranaga are not exactly household names in Burbank, and yet, that trio proved to be the three most important people in the city for 10 minutes this past Sunday.
Serving as the judges for the 2023 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, the red-ribboned judicial team were welcomed to the Burbank Tournament of Roses Association’s barn by the volunteer group’s president, Linda Cozakos, just moments after she was given a hug for good luck by BTORA Director Kim Bossley and Terri Coomes.
While the barn was filled with hundreds of association members, float-building volunteers, well-wishers and local dignitaries, you could hear a rose petal drop as Cavender, the director of the Botanical Gardens at Huntington Library; O’Hagan, a four-time executive producer of the Rose Parade for KTLA who is currently the director of programming at Boston Globe Media; and Hiranaga, a floral designer whose company specializes in creating arrangements for weddings, special events, and commercial interiors, perused Burbank’s entry, “Adventure Awaits.”
“This year’s parade theme is ‘Turning the Corner,’ and we are honoring senior citizens of Burbank who have all turned many corners throughout their lives and will be living out another adventure by riding on this year’s float,” Cozakos said shortly after the judges departed.
Among those who were loosening up their waving hand for their ride down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard the following day were longtime float builder Steve Edward, who rode in a hang glider he designed and built; this year’s float designer Robin Hanna riding the rapids in a canoe; and former Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos and his wife Laura, respectively scaling a mountain and tubing down a river.
“No matter how many corners we have turned in our lives we’ve all experienced many adventures, some wonderful and some difficult and challenging,” said Cozakos, who, as the association’s longest tenured member, has now chalked up work on 47 Burbank floats.
“This year, our float honors those who embrace the fact that age has no bearing on what adventures still await you,” Cozakos said. “The riders are all between the ages of 56 and 85 and they serve as an inspiration for people to keep checking off their bucket list right up to the end.”
With the judging duly accomplished, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Mayor Konstantine Anthony, Vice Mayor Nick Schultz, Councilmembers Zizette Mullins and Nikki Pérez, and City Clerk Kimberley Clark took on the role of “petal pushers” to each add an individual ceremonial rose to the float on behalf of every citizen of Burbank.
While the float headed off for Pasadena at 7 p.m. Sunday, another eight hours would pass before Cozakos and association members could take a deep breath and celebrate the fact that the judges presented their entry in the 134th parade with the Queen Award for most outstanding use of roses.
Since 1914, three years after becoming an incorporated city, Burbank has been represented by an all-volunteer constructed and designed float in the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade.
Along with the aforementioned, and the many residents who helped build “Adventure Awaits,” other association members who played vital roles in seeing the float come to floral fruition included Bob Hutt, Jon Reeves, Ginny Barnett, Jeff Cecchettini, Teresa Green, John Hames, Albert Rodriguez, Erik C. Andersen, and Janet and Jason Diel.
If you would like to get involved with constructing and decorating next year’s float, visit burbankrosefloat.com.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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