Downey Gold Rush float packs on whimsy, history






Imagine the Gold Rush, perhaps not in the way the pages of history tell the story of the 49ers, but the way someone who designs an amusement park ride may combine the images of the past with a mix of fun and velocity.

That’s essentially the kind of idea the Downey Rose Float Association’s creation aims to convey when the float rolls down Colorado Boulevard during the Rose Parade on Monday Jan. 2.

Called “The Gold Rush,” the float is designed and built around a roller coaster track carrying a mine cart that can roll around a mountain and through an Old West water mill.

The volunteers building the new float intend for the design to connect with the 2017 parade’s theme, “Echoes of Success.”

“What’s more successful than Sutter’s Mill in California, right?” asked Kelley Roberts , the Downey Rose Float Association’s longtime construction chairman.

Design taking shape

The float’s coaster track last week had already been connected to the chassis, and a layer of foam applied to the vehicle gave a sense of its shape. By Jan. 2 — the Rose Parade organizers wait for a day when New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday — “The Gold Rush” will need to be adorned with numerous roses, carnations, hydrangeas as well as rice, crushed walnut shells and other floral and agricultural products that will be used to give color to a whimsical interpretation of California’s past.

• Photos: Downey Float Association works on Rose Parade float

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