Hispanics are constructing and decorating using natural materials and flowers a float featuring dinosaurs from Los Angeles County's Natural History Museum which will participate in the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.
"We've built a float with dinosaurs because we believe that the Rose Parade is a unique opportunity to express to the whole world that the NHM is another of this great city's attrations," Luis Chiappe, director of the Museum's Dinosaur Institute, told Efe.
The aim "is to generate enthusiasm about our museum and its transformation in recent years, as well as to promote the new dinosaur (exhibits)," the Argentine paleontologist added.
Chiappe supervised the design of the float, entitled “Dinosaurs in L.A.'s Backyard," so that the structures on the float reflect the real characteristics of three dinosaurs: a Triceratops, a long-necked Mamenchisaurus argo and Tyrannosaurus rex.
The paleontologist will travel the 5 1/2 miles of Pasadena's Colorado Blvd. on board the float in the Rose Parade, which this year will not be on Jan. 1, because that date falls on a Sunday, but rather on Jan. 2.
We've built a float with dinosaurs because we believe that the Rose Parade is a unique opportunity to express to the whole world that the NHM is another of this great city's attractions.
- Luis Chiappe, director of the Museum's Dinosaur Institute
"I think I'm the only paleontologist in the world who's going to have the privilege of being able to ride on a float full of dinosaurs," said Chiappe, laughing.
The firm constructing the NHM float is Phoenix Decorating Company.
Jaime Arrevillaga has worked on the Phoenix float-building team for more than 20 years and told Efe that in his company the majority of the people who make the ideas of the float designers a reality are Hispanic.
"My work on the dinosaur float consisted of gluing paper ... that went over the chassis and over which solidified foam (was used) to create the platform into which natural flowers are inserted," Arevillaga said.
Mexican-American Veronica Jauriqui on Wednesday had the task of cutting and dipping in a liquid petals of dried flowers to provide a golden color and then sticking them on parts of the Triceratops' body.
"It means a lot to me to play a small role in the decoration of the dinosaur float," she told Efe.
Lying on a part of the scaffolding erected to enable the team to assemble the float, Peruvian Norma Aguello and Toni Adams are gluing white lettuce seeds and peppers to create gray patches on the left side of the Mamenchisaurus.
"To be doing this small part fulfills me so much that I regret not having known 20 years ago that I could have joined the companies that make floats," Aguello said.
"When they opened the dinosaur (exhibit) I took my 10-year-old daughter to the museum and, since we're members, I received an invitation to help decorate the dinosaurs on the float," she said.