American Armenian Rose Float Association Accepted into 128th Tournament of Roses Parade
The American Armenian Rose Float Association, Inc. (AARFA) is proud to announce that it has been accepted for the fourth time into the Tournament of Roses Parade. The 129th Tournament will be held on January 1, 2018. Though a tremendous challenge, this project is a great vote of confidence for AARFA. With skilled and talented members and supporters, the float is sure to be a success, again this coming year.
The Tournament of Roses began as a promotional effort by the distinguished Valley Hunt Club of Pasadena. In the winter of 1890, the club members invited their former East Coast neighbors to warmer California for a mid-winter holiday, where they would watch games like jousting, chariot races, polo, foot races and tug-of-war. Thanks to the warmer California weather and the abundance of fresh flowers, even in winter, the club decided to add another event to these festivities: a parade of carriages decorated with hundreds of blooms. This was the start of the world-famous Tournament of Roses Parade.
The first Armenian rose float, which carried the theme “Cradle of Civilization,” went on to earn the Pasadena Tournament of Roses’ prestigious President’s Award for “most effective floral use and presentation.” “On New Year’s Day, 2015, as the first Armenian rose float in history rolled down Colorado Boulevard, it promoted Armenian culture and identity in Los Angeles and across the world,” AARFA President Stepan Partamian said as he addressed the guests. “The float was seen by about 700,000 spectators in Pasadena and a global audience of 1.5 billion in 115 countries. The forthcoming Tournament of Roses will be seen by an even greater number of people. I can’t imagine a better or more cost-effective conduit for familiarizing the world with Armenian civilization. Think about it as a community, we’ll be spending a mere $300,000 on the second Armenian rose float, yet achieve the type of global exposure that would require millions of dollars.”
The second Armenian rose float road on January 1, 2016, the theme, “Find your Adventure,” called “Discover Armenia” encompassed major Armenian landmarks as well as references to Armenian history — including the Sardarapat and Tsitsernakaberd memorials, the Tatev Monastery, Artsakh’s “We Are Our Mountains” monument, the Ughtasar Petroglyphs, the khachkar cemetery of Old Jugha, and the Urartian Sphinx, among others. Both the first and the newest Armenian rose floats were designed by AARFA Board member Johnny Kanounji, depicting the beauty and millennia-old culture of Armenia and Artsakh, the Armenian rose float will also help promote tourism in our homeland.
On January 2, 2017, AARFA showcased “Echoes of Success” down Colorado Blvd. and again within three years won its second trophy, Past President’s Trophy for Best Design and Best use of Floral and Non-Floral Design, platforming the American Armenian diaspora success story. It was an honor to share Armenia as a success story in the world during the 2017 Rose Parade. This float belongs to every Armenian in the United States and around the world. One hundred years ago, the Tournament of Roses chose Mr. Pashgian, an American Armenian, as the Grand Marshall, and now, the American Armenian community will again be represented with a float for the fourth year in a row.
Now, on January 1, 2018 AARFA will present to the world a float that depicts the human acts of kindness that enrich the lives of the others and are the source of inspiration, hope, joy and optimism for all of us as a Armenian community. The official design shall be unveiled on or about March 2017. It is the AARFA’s hope that the World Armenian communities support this float and help share “Acts of Kindness”. AARFA is looking for corporate, media and individual sponsors who wish to support this project.