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CLUB MEMBERS DREAM TO ACHIEVE FOR ROSE PARADE

Vicki Hermansen | Dec 21, 2021

2022 Rose Parade Kiwanis Float

Margo Dutton had an idea. As a new member of a Kiwanis club, she offered to help with the Kiwanis Rose Parade float and coordinated volunteers for the effort. She also encouraged members of Circle K International and Key Club to help, and a tradition was born.  

The next year, she had so many volunteers that Phoenix Decorating Company asked if they’d help with another float. Soon they were working on 10 floats. Over the past 27 years, the roster has grown from volunteers from a few clubs to hundreds of club volunteers from Kiwanis, Key Club and Circle K International, working on as many as 18 floats for Phoenix Decorating Company, one of the primary float providers for the Rose Parade.  

Kiwanis International’s Dream to Achieve float

Rose Parade, Pasadena, California  

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST

January 1, 2022

Check local listings for channels

This year, as Dutton serves as governor of the Kiwanis California-Nevada-Hawaii District, she’ll be there again — to help with decorations, to cheer on the volunteers and to ride down Colorado Avenue on the Kiwanis float with leaders of the organization.  

“I was born and raised in Illinois, but one of the things we did every year as a family was watch the Rose Parade,” Dutton said. From the first rendering to construction building and the addition of the flowers, Dutton said it’s an incredible experience.  

“We are greatly appreciative of the relationship with Kiwanis,” said Chris Hayes, who works in sponsor relations at Phoenix Decorating Company. “We’re honored to build the Kiwanis float, and without the support of the volunteers, finishing all the floats would be a challenge. We just build — the Kiwanis team supports.”  

This year’s float, featuring Tommy the Turtle, is titled “Dream to Achieve.” Riders include Art Riley, immediate past president of Kiwanis International, the Key Club president and vice president, Salma Eldeeb and Melanie Kim, and the Circle K International president and vice president, Kyle Lank and Leah Reiser. The float embodies the Kiwanis spirit and the organization’s hope for all children.  

Kiwanis volunteers, including club members in Kiwanis, Key Club and Circle K International, will add the floral decorations to the Kiwanis float and nine other floats for Phoenix Decorating, including the Rose Queen’s float and floats for businesses and other service organizations, such as Lions Clubs International and Shriners International.

“Rose float decorating is one of the most popular projects for members of KIWIN'S in the 32nd District of Key Club,” said Jeff Dimsdale, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa. “Virtually all clubs from eight divisions come together for a night of service, fellowship and fun.”

This year, Dimsdale anticipates more than 350 Key Club student volunteers to help on December 28, including Key Clubs from Huntington Beach, San Diego and Hacienda Heights, California.

And that’s just from one district, Dutton said. Thousands of students will travel to Pasadena to work on the floats — an operation in itself. Clubs raise money to cover transportation, food and lodging costs to work on the floats and be a part of the Rose Parade.  

Circle K International will also send a contingent of volunteers to assist, said Ryan Tan, CKI governor of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District.  

“When Circle K International was established, the California-Nevada-Hawaii Circle K District was in charge of planning, coordinating and executing an event titled Go West, as many districts would physically go west for service. As a result, this became a long-standing event that demonstrated college students' commitment to service,” Tan said.

The Pasadena City College CKI club hosts the event, he said. “I was president of this club a couple of years ago, and it was astonishing, inspiring and empowering to witness more than 100 college students from various chapters around the district come out and make a direct impact on the Rose Parade floats.”  

At the helm of all the volunteers is Earnest Taylor, chair of the Kiwanis District Rose Float Committee. He’s served in this role more than six years and will make sure volunteers get to the 10 floats assigned to them by Phoenix Decorating Company this year.  

“While the Pasadena Rose Parade is a recognized international commercial event, it’s still a community parade,” he said.  

Phoenix and another professional float company build most of the floats; there are six self-built community floats.

“Kiwanis' involvement in decorating floats for the Pasadena Rose Parade is truly a community service project,” he added.

Arnold estimates more than 4,000 Kiwanis volunteers will work 50,000-plus hours to decorate the floats for New Year’s Day.  

“And we’ll be back at it in February, when we work with Phoenix on the theme of next year’s parade,” he said.

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