Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I noticed Girl Scouts hosts this Community Service Event, I'm not in scouting, can I still participate?
Yes! While a large portion of this crew does indeed consist of Girl Scout Troops from all over Southern California, we have Volunteers come from all over the country. Our event hosts are Girl Scouts for organizational reasons but decorating Rose Parade floats has grown in popularity, size, and recognition. For these reasons, we have invited and encouraged Boy Scout Troops, Youth Groups, Marching Bands, High School Clubs, Families, and even Individuals who want to help out sign up to decorate with us...and we have had great success!! If you would like to help out and are willing to make a firm commitment to the dates you register for, we welcome your participation! Upon registration, select GENERAL VOLUNTEER and the appropriate forms will automatically appear.
Q: What is Dry Decorating?
We ask that all troops or groups participating for the first time come to at least one dry decorating day. This is the time (before December 26) where we prep materials. It’s a day of (among other things) cutting straw-flowers, cutting statice to dry, ironing corn husks, crushing coconut, filling water vials, and socializing. If you can talk and cut flowers at the same time, this is a good job for you! Also a great start for 1st timers, the pace is more relaxed and casual and you really need to do the prep work to appreciate exactly how valuable the material is so you won’t waste it when applying it to the float!
Q: Can Kids participate?
Yes. As long as the Children are at least 10 years old they are welcome to do Dry Decorating (Dry Dec) and may sign up for either half days or whole days before Christmas. We arekm very sorry, but due to age restrictions and insurance issues, Children younger than 10 years old may not participate, nor can they come as "tag-alongs" with older siblings.
Q: Where do we park? Where is the pick up and drop off?
All vehicles, for all shifts, must be parked in the Decorator Parking lot where you will be escorted via shuttle to the “barn” or decorator warehouse. Click Here for the Map and Here for Google Directions to the Decorator Parking Lot. Do NOT park in the lot next to the Fiesta Building, on the streets surrounding the building, or in our neighbor’s business parking lots. While it is Weekend and Holiday time, they do still work in their shops and will tow your vehicle.
All pick up and drop off of passengers needs to happen in the decorator parking lot. It is not safe to pick up or drop off at the float barn. Please do not stop on the street anywhere on Avenida Padilla.
Q: We're traveling from far away places, is there someplace nearby to stay overnight?
Surprisingly, we decorate several miles from Pasadena where the parade is held. There are local hotels/motels in the area near where we decorate - book early they fill up – use “Irwindale, CA 91702” when searching for close hotels. Try to choose a hotel within 10 miles, or so, of the building. Morning traffic in the Greater Los Angeles area is terrible even during the holidays.
For Scouts: The Hill-Harbison House is a facility that serves many Girl Scouts and other youth from the area. They are located just 12 miles away from where we decorate, and overnight accommodations are available by reservation. The Montrose Program Center is 21 miles away and is also available by reservation. You'll be sleeping on the floor at both places, but for a low cost per person/per night who can complain? Please contact GSGLA, for reservation info. (213) 213-0123. Fiesta Parade Floats and the Float Decorator Volunteer Coordinators have nothing to do with these reservations, we are just providing the info as a resource so you can make your own arrangements.
Q: What do we do for lunch/dinner?
All decorators are given 45 minute breaks for meals. Even if you are not having a meal, you have to leave the building. No one can be at the float without the supervisor present and they need a break, too! All Dry Decorators should bring their own lunch. After Dec 25th, there will be an on-site catering company, El Matador Mexican Food, providing meals at a discounted price for all decorators. You may also bring your lunch/dinner, but be aware there is no storage space on site, you need to leave your cooler in the car, which in Irwindale can get very warm. No Food or drink is allowed inside the building - except for water! Food and Drinks, including water, are NOT allowed On or Near floats including all scaffolding rigs. The express order line at El Matador is for Red Jacket Employees only.
Q: How much can we fundraise for our group?
Groups wishing to receive a small donation may indicate it on their registration. Decorators from 10-11 years old receive no donation, just a wonderful experience and may count the hours as Community Service. Decorators 12 years old and up can receive a donation to their 501(c)3 organization, the donation is anywhere from 20-50 cents, per person, per hour. You may choose, as a group, to take Community Service hours instead of a donation, let us know when you register.
Q: When do we get our donation check?
The check, made out to the troop/group, is usually mailed the following April. If you have not received it by mid-May, please contact Julie at email@example.com Please be advised, checks can only be written to 501(c)3 organizations and never to a person or for profit business.
Q: Do we get anything else, like tee shirts or pins?
Some Float Sponsors/Clients require decorators to wear float shirts for publicity purposes. Also, volunteers who work during the Vendor party night may be given shirts to wear and possibly keep. Vendor Night varies from year to year and we do not know what night it will be this year. The Official Decorator Pins are available for sale, for $7.00 each. Decorator Merchandise is available in the decorator store. Do not ask any Sponsor, Vendor, Client, or staff at Fiesta for a tee shirt, bag, pin, or other swag.
If they have them, you may be given a pin by your supervisor for hard work. You also might not.
Q: How can my Scout Troop earn the Rose Parade Pin / Interest Project / Badge?
There are badges and awards with varying requirements for different levels of Scouting, many of which can be earned by helping to decorate a float. Please check with your council to see if you have any of these.
There is an Interest Project and a Junior Badge based around the Rose Parade. For additional information, please contact Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. In the past, they have offered the patches for purchase to Boy Scouts as well.
We also sell a Rose Parade Float Decorator pin to commemorate your troops experience decorating.
Q: That "What I Need to Know" page of yours... it's pretty firm. Are you serious?
Actually yes, we are. Quite serious. Many of these points are insurance related requirements. That's not to say that decorating isn't tons of fun, it is! Otherwise we wouldn't still be doing this year after year. But that being said, it's the most fun when you go into it with the right attitude. When you are a returning participant, you will most likely relate to at least one or two of the points! It’s firm but we do get about 75% of our crew returning for their 3rd or 4th year or more so how bad can it be? So bottom line: yes, we are serious about needing to be flexible and following the rules. But we are also serious about having a great time!
Q: What if the shift I would like is full?
We encourage you to try to work a different shift into your schedule! We need you! But, we also understand holiday time can be tight so contact the Volunteer Coordinators to be placed on the wait list – FloatDecorators@gmail.com If last minute spaces open up, and they do, we will contact you in order of who was on the list first.