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Floaters - Key Club Kids Aid Parade Prep
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In the midst of a whirlwind of activity, a handful of Escalon High School Key Club members are taking part this week in building the Kiwanis Club float that will be part of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena for the New Year's holiday.

Like they have every year for the past several years, the local Escalon Kiwanis Club is co-sponsoring the trip, offering Key Club members the opportunity to travel south to work on the float. After putting in their shift, they also enjoy a visit to one of the southern California amusement parks.

Key Club advisor, teacher Rick Heflin, is going with the group and they were slated to leave early Tuesday, (Dec. 27) for the drive to Pasadena.

"We are scheduled to work our shift from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.," Heflin said of putting in their hours on the float after the drive down. "We'll grind some flowers and glue things on the float."

Each float in the annual Tournament of Roses parade has a base on vegetative materials, said Heflin, with plants and flowers covering nearly every inch of the rolling floats. The live plants are the last to be added, shortly before the floats take to the parade route.

"Underneath the float, even the wheel wells are covered," Heflin said of greenery being everywhere.

The local Key Club members, seven in all this year, will work with other students and adult volunteers on the Kiwanis Club entry in the parade.

"We primarily work on the Kiwanis float," Heflin explained. "One year, we spent time gluing each individual gold leaf on the float, we might work on six feet of a float per person."

Other years have also seen the Escalon contingent work on the FFA float and others, with students and adults working side by side to complete their portion of the project. This is the eighth year Escalon has had a group participate in the float building.

The time-consuming, intricate work is done in a large airplane-like hangar, where floats of all shapes and sizes are being prepped in advance of the traditional New Year's Day parade.

Heflin said this year's group is small - there have been as many as 30 in the group in the past - but he said they were all looking forward to take part in the event.

"The Kiwanis pays for part of it, the kids all have to contribute but it is co-sponsored by the Kiwanis," Heflin said.

After working their eight-hour shift, the students will head to dinner and then for a good night's rest at their southern California hotel before enjoying a day at Magic Mountain on Wednesday, returning home by late Wednesday night.

"It's tedious work but fun with everybody doing it," Heflin said of helping assemble the float. "When you sit down on the first and watch the parade go by, you can see the float and know you worked on that.

"There's a lot of things going on as you work and it's just very interesting."