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Painting, Decoration & Animation

Painting is the next step after cocooning. Paint is used as a placement guide for the floral materials. Areas are painted in the same color as the organic material that will cover it (flowers, seeds, greenery). This is to ensure that if, for example, a red carnation falls off the float, the red paint below blends in with the rest of the flowers.


On December 23, after the painting is completed, the float is towed to the decorating area near the Pasadena parade site, a slow, all-night commute on surface streets. The decoration tent, adjacent to the Rose Bowl, contains many other floats and workers. The float arrives at the decorating tent in the early hours of December 24. Although some detail work may be performed this day, the float workers generally take a break until December 26.

The week of December 26 through New Year's Day is known affectionately as "Deco Week". At 8 a.m. on December 26, float decoration begins.

For the first few days, the decorating team works until no later than 2 a.m., when the animation crew takes over to bring the float's movement alive while the decoration team sleeps. The two teams trade off until the morning of December 30, when the animation must be completed. Everyone now concentrates their efforts of decorating until noon, December 31.

There are three separate power units on Cal Poly floats: 1) float propulsion (SLO's responsibility); 2) animation; and 3) the generator for the float's computer.