New Year’s Day 2019 marked the 130th year for the annual Rose Parade® themed “The Melody of Life.” Viewers enjoyed 40 creative, awe-inspiring floats, along with marching bands from around the world. Once again, FTD served as the Official Floral Company and decorators of the official VIP vehicles in the parade, and for the first time as Sponsor of the prestigious Rose Parade Float Awards. The iconic Mercury Man logo was included on the 24 banners that introduce each winning float, increasing brand awareness along the parade route to more than 700,000 people, as well as during the television broadcast of the parade to more than 44 million households nationwide!
Attending the Rose Parade is on the bucket list of many florists and nothing compares to seeing it up close and in person. That’s how the lucky winner of FTD’s Everyone “Likes” a Parade Sweepstakes sees it. Samantha Welzbacher from Lone Star Bloom in San Antonio, TX, won an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game, among other perks.
"It was amazing to go behind the scenes and to see, in person, a parade that I’ve only watched on TV."
“It was amazing to go behind the scenes and to see, in person, a parade that I’ve only watched on TV,” Samantha remarks. “I was able to see it all up close and chat with the design team as they worked. I learned about the mechanics behind the vehicle floral arrangements. I do a lot of wedding work, so I thought about how this could apply that to my work back home.”
During this tour, Samantha and her family met FTD Education Consultant J. Keith White AIFD and FTD Quality Services Representative Pete Samek AIFD. For 14 years, Keith has lead the skilled design team on behalf of FTD for the vehicles that carry the parade’s VIPs.
“This year, we decorated two vintage Lincolns, a 1939 Ford, a 1962 fire truck, the Honda Sound and Pace Cars, and two additional cars. The vehicles are one of a kind or come right out of museums,” Keith explains. “The morning of the parade, we stayed with the Grand Marshal’s car in the parade lineup to assist Chaka Khan into her vehicle. From there, we got to see all the floats and bands pass by.”
While it takes about nine months of planning, the actual decorating takes about 8-9 days — or about one day per vehicle. FTD Flower Exchange procures all of the flowers and foliage of which 85% are Certified California Grown. FTD was recognized by the California Cut Flower Commission for using fresh product grown locally.
Keith feels that each day leading up to the parade presents a reel of highlights. “One of my favorite things, however, is when all the cars are finally outside, the sun rises and the designs come to life in the natural California sun!” he adds.
There were many highlights for Samantha as well. “We really loved our seats at the Rose Parade and seeing all of the amazing floats, as well as gaining an understanding of the work that goes into these creations. This parade is a really wonderful highlight on the floral industry,” she remarks.
“I’m so glad I entered this contest! As a designer and flower shop manager, I was really interested in the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of the Rose Parade and it did not disappoint!” Samantha concludes. The past few months have been quite eventful for her – winning the FTD sweepstakes, giving birth to her son and participating in the Tournament of Roses festivities. It really seems like “Everything is Coming up Roses” for Samantha.0