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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 03 2013

Coming up roses: Moorhead couple to help decorate Tournament of Roses float

MOORHEAD – Does a rose, if it’s not in a garden or a vase, smell as sweet?

Linda and Dave Anderson are about to find out.

The Moorhead couple have signed on to help decorate a float for this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

They’ll fly to Pasadena on Christmas Day to take part in the final days of preparation for what could be one of the parade’s premier entries, the Dole company’s “Sunrise at the Oasis” float.

“It’s just been something I’ve always wanted to do,” Linda Anderson said. “Imagine all those roses. … It’s going to smell really, really delicious.”

While growing up in Santa Barbara, Calif., Linda somehow never made it to the Tournament of Roses Parade.

And over 25 years of marriage, most of the pair’s vacations have ties to Dave’s passions for history and genealogy, she said.

“Our honeymoon was at the Gettysburg Battlefield,” Linda said. “All these years, I’ve gone along with his ideas, so this is my idea.”

Dave, director of community and business relations for Sanford Health, is on board with trading the cold and snow of Fargo-Moorhead for this adventure.

“It sounds like it’s a lot of fun,” Dave said. “We’re going to help build a float, and we’re going to be in California in the middle of winter. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Linda, who works in Sanford’s marketing department, said the trip has been a year in the making. An Internet search hooked her up with Beverly Stansbury, the project manager for Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale, Calif.

FPF is making 13 of this year’s Rose Parade entries.

Stansbury said the Andersons will be among the 100 to 150 “bucket list people” who come in annually from across the U.S. and Canada to help build the floats. They will be assigned to crews made up mostly of people from school, civic and community groups.

Stansbury said FPF will run two shifts a day from the 26th to the 29th of December, then three shifts on Dec. 30 when 500,000 water tubes and the roses and other perishable flowers are added to the 13 floats.

Between 800 and 900 people will work on the floats in FPF’s facility at any one time, Stansbury said.

“It’s all organized chaos. But we know every four hours where every float should be,” she said.

The next adventure for the Andersons?

“Next year, we’re going to do Macy’s (Thanksgiving Day Parade) balloons,” Linda said. “We’ll see how this works out. You always have to have an adventure to work on.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583