PASADENA, Calif. - Cal Poly's float, named "Aquatic Aspirations," received the Director Award for the most outstanding artistic design and use of floral and non-floral materials at the 131st Rose Parade on Wednesday.
The "Aquatic Aspirations" float featured a submarine exploring a sunken shipwreck that was also the home to a colorful array of marine wildlife. The design was meant to celebrate this year's parade theme: "The Power of Hope."
The float, which stood at 30 feet tall, was designed and built by teams of students from Cal Poly and California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. It was driven by Walter Trygstad, a manufacturing engineering student from Davis, California.
Cal Poly said this is the seventh time they have used an ocean-related design in the 72 appearances they have made at the parade. This year's design included animated turtles, jellyfish and swimming fish. A 9-foot-long submarine rocked back and forth at the rear of the float while an octopus waved its tentacles from 13 feet above the float in the front.
“This year’s Cal Poly Rose Float shows the power of Learn by Doing and multidisciplinary teamwork on a grand collegiate level,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, who was in Pasadena to watch the parade. “‘Aquatic Aspirations’ is more than a float. To our students and an equal number of their counterparts at Cal Poly Pomona, who devote a year of their lives to this technically challenging and artistic project, it’s also a statement about the power of possibilities and of hopes and dreams realized."
"Aquatic Aspirations" is one of six self-built entries in the parade this year which had a total of 40 floats, 23 marching bands and 16 equestrian units. The parade also featured four Tournament of Roses-themed entrants.
Cal Poly's float was placed in the beginning as the fourth feature in the parade which students said may have been a first for their schools since they began participating in 1949.
The awards for the parade were announced at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. The Cal Poly universities were also presented with the "California Grown" designation the day before for their continued commitment to California's flower farmers.
Cal Poly said their float's decorations were made up of almost 95 percent cut flowers and plant materials from California. This number was up from last years 91 percent. This is also the ninth year in a row that the schools have received this designation.