Dino-Soar float comes home

Eleni Koutsoukos, 4, receives a flower from her mother, Lin Chen, while visiting the Dino-Soar float at Memorial Park on Saturday. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer / January 5, 2013)

This Dino-Soar's era came to a colorful, happy end Saturday as boys and girls climbed aboard to pluck red roses, all manner of pretty flowers and any seed or bean they could get their hands on.

Five days after making its glorious two-hour trek down Colorado Boulevard, the 2013 La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. float, which won the Rose Parade award for best animation, gave its final performance parked peacefully in front of Memorial Park.

“Dino-Soar,” which featured a friendly brontosaurus, smiling pterodactyls and a befuddled saber-toothed tiger, was a definite crowd-pleaser, especially for the younger visitors.

“It's awesome!” said Stewart Dabe, 9, of La Crescenta. “It's a little scary because I'm kind of afraid of heights, but it was fun.”

“It's neat because it's so close to us,” said the boy's mother, Michel Dabe. “I think we're going to volunteer next year.”

“It's very cool to see it up close,” said Paris Cohen, president of the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation, whose family's visit was the culmination of watching the float in progress for many months. “Every year we see it from scratch, and then it's amazing to see its transformation.”

“Dino-Soar” began its journey early last year after the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. asked the community for float design concepts, said association president Ann Neilson. The initial batch of 140 concept ideas was narrowed down to 12, and then a committee whittled that down to a handful. Finally, “Dino-Soar” was born.

After submitting the plan to the Tournament of Roses Assn., LCF float volunteers got to work. The design, materials and labor were all donated. Chuck Hughes, who has volunteered for 34 years, estimated 25,000 volunteer man hours go into the float.

After Saturday's viewing, the rose-less float was taken back to its home at the Valley Water Co. property next to Flintridge Preparatory School. Workers will take the next month or so dismantling the float's steel frame, leaving only the chassis, motor, generator and sign.

The process leaves volunteers and interested observers with a satisfying sense of completion.

“We really do take pride in our Tournament of Roses float,” Cohen said.

The La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. will elect new officers during its annual membership meeting on Jan. 25.