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CNN Today

Volunteers Readying Floats for 112th Tournament of Roses Parade

Aired December 29, 2000 - 1:26 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: It started out back in 1890 with just a bunch of horse-drawn buggies all decorated with flowers. But today, dozens of floats are getting ready to put their finishing touches on. The bands are all tuning up for the 112th Tournament of Roses Parade.

And that's where we find our CNN's Jim Moret, who's standing by watching everything take shape -- Jim.

JIM MORET, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We -- Andria, we are literally on top of the action. You've heard the term, "everything's coming up roses." Some 350,000 roses will pass through one of these tents here.

This basically is a group on a tour. They were enlisted by a group called the Petal Pushers. And a number of volunteers -- these people come from Ohio, from Oregon, from New York, from Maine, and they're going to be working for five days readying the floats here.

Now, all of the flowers come through this main clearinghouse. Now, you're seeing here what they're doing is they're actually cleaning individual stems, taking the thorns off and then putting them in individual vials. From here, they go to one of two barns where there are some 24 floats being built by Phoenix Decorating Company. That company has been making floats for some 45 years. They have 24 of the 52 floats in here.

And we are now in the Exotic Room. Basically, these flowers come from all over the world. Almost every continent is represented here.

David, David, come on over here.

David Rubell is one of the employees with Phoenix.

Now, David, here, come on over here, if you will. Don't mean to walk in front of the camera. This particular plant comes, you said, from Hawaii, right?

DAVID RUBELL, PHOENIX DECORATING COMPANY: Yes, that's correct. This is from Hawaii. It's called a Hanging Heliconia.

MORET: Now, David, you are a Phoenix employee. But for most of the year, you work for Sparklets. You carry the water, you deliver it to people's homes. And for one week every year, you work on building these floats. What brings you back? This is your 13th year. RUBELL: Just tradition. This is what I do. I mean, from Christmas to New Year's, I come down here every year and, you know, put my hand into the Rose Parade.

MORET: But this -- I know these volunteers consider this a labor of love.

RUBELL: They do. And we have people that actually come on tour groups here. They, I mean, tube the roses, decorate the floats. I mean, it's amazing the love affair that really goes into this.

MORET: Now, the 24 floats that are in the parade this year -- there are 23 awards available, so what are the bragging rights involved in winning these trophies?

RUBELL: You always want to win sweepstakes. I mean, that's No. 1. That's what everybody goes after. But it also just -- I mean, it makes you feel good if you win anything. I mean, it shows you that your work did go for something.

MORET: We can say, attesting to the fact that you're all winners here.

Thank you very much, David Rubell.

And, of course, the Tournament of Roses Parade begins at 8:00 Pacific on New Year's Day.

Reporting live from Pasadena, California, I'm Jim Moret. Now back to you, Andria.

HALL: Thanks, Jim. I'll expect my flowers on Monday.

(LAUGHTER)

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