The American Armenian Rose Float Association (AARFA) unveiled their first float for the 126th Tournament of Roses Parade June 21 at a fundraising event in Pasadena, the Pasadena Star-News reports.
The Jan. 1, 2015, parade has the theme “Inspiring Stories,” and the association jumped on the chance to be a part of it and show the inspiring people and stories from the American Armenian community.
“(The float) represents our culture,” said Arthur Kokozian, AARFA director.
To be built by Phoenix Decorating Company, the float will feature themes and images representing the Armenian culture and the contributions Armenians have made in the world, including the United States.
“(The float shows) how we’ve given back to society, how we enrich it. Whether it be the architecture or carpet weaving, the inventions, it is meant to show the positive attributes we’ve brought to society,” added Kokozian.
The colorful float features the head of an Armenian woman wearing a headdress in the center under a bush of Armenian plums, also known as apricots, and a tree of pomegranates, a symbol of Armenia. Bushels of grapes, representing the discovery of the world’s earliest known wine-making facility found in Armenia, are also featured.
An old carpet-weaving machine and a carpet leans against a structure representing the Armenian architectural style going back 4,500 years. On the opposite side of the float are two men playing the duduk, a woodwind instrument indigenous to Armenia.
The round Armenian eternity sign, an Armenian national symbol, white storks and the Armenian alphabet is also found throughout the design.
“The design is beautiful,” said Kokozian. “(Each association member) had an input and we had historians make sure of the authenticity of each item.”
The float entry also coincides with the 100th anniversary of an Armenian American, Movses Pashgian, chosen as the Grand Marshal in the 1915 Rose Parade.
Prominent American Armenians with inspiring stories will also ride on the float during the parade, including Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, a United States federal judge for the Northern District of Illinois.
“We’re looking forward to doing this every year and showing the community how American Armenians have given back to the country that opened its arms to us,” said Kokozian. “Anywhere (Armenians) are or have been, we’ve succeeded.”
The association is still raising money to complete the float.