Inside the Capitol

Monday, September 03, 2007

9-10 Guv Won't Ride 2008 Float


Syndicated Columnist

      SANTA FE -- New Mexico will return to the Rose Parade this year. And no, Gov. Bill Richardson will not be riding on the float again. Political candidates evidently create too many problems for the parade committee.

      State Tourism Secretary Michael Cerletti says the governor wasn't planning on the ride anyway. Of course we all believe that, but might the governor be available for an interview just in case the TV folks might ask?

   The reason the state is returning to the parade after a one year absence, according to Cerletti, is its value to tourism promotion in the Southern California market, where advertising is prohibitively expensive.

      Cerletti says the numbers confirm what many New Mexicans have noticed for years. California tourists are beginning to give Texans a run for their money. It didn't hurt that two years ago the Rose Bowl featured teams from California and Texas.

      New Mexico's 2006 Rose Parade float cost around $160,000 but sponsorships defrayed much of that. Cerletti says the sponsors definitely got their money's worth, plus it was a very enjoyable experience.

      Sponsors again are being sought by the Tourism Department. They will receive tickets for the parade and the Rose Bowl game, their business name in every department publication, access to media functions and other events connected with the parade and many other goodies, depending on the level of sponsorship.

      The Tourism Department also holds numerous events throughout the Los Angeles area targeting specific markets, such as travel writers, spa writers, golf writers and representatives of the home states of the two teams competing in the 2008 Rose Bowl.

      Businesses interested in the possibility of being a sponsor are asked to contact Deputy Tourism Secretary Craig Swagerty at 505-827-7910.

      Volunteer workers also are needed to help decorate New Mexico's float. A professional float building company prepares the superstructure of the float ahead of time, along with a detailed instruction manual for the decorating. Supervisors from the company use the manual to direct volunteers provided by each entrant.

      Some 40 New Mexicans traveled to Pasadena at their own expense for the 2006 Rose Parade float decorating. It was an enlightening experience to see how those marvelous creations go together.

      The company that builds New Mexico's floats also does about 10 others, all in one big tent. That enables workers to see the process of putting together a number of the entries.

      It wasn't all drudgery. People pay for guided tours around the edge of the tent housing the floats. Several New Mexicans managed to find work near the constant line of viewer traffic so that they could promote our state and answer questions.

      Celebrities also dropped by occasionally to prepare themselves for covering the parade on the numerous local and national channels that cover it.

   New Mexico's favorite celebrity was national weatherman Al Roker who chatted with our group at length and then raved about New Mexico during the parade. He also expressed dismay that we didn't win.

   Albuquerque newspaper and television stations also had reporters in Pasadena to cover the New Mexico volunteers.

   Another pleasant surprise for the New Mexicans was a visit from Gov. Bill Richardson at the headquarters hotel. It was scheduled as a five-minute "Howdy and thank you" appearance, but the governor sat down and chatted with everyone for over 30 minutes -- while dinner guests waited somewhere.

   Many of us have had the opportunity to build a parade float but this experience is truly unique. No napkins, cardboard or paint are allowed. Everything must be organic. Even the colors have to be natural.

   The early work is done with materials such as beans, wood chips and dried flowers. The roses go on last and each has its separate vial of water.

   If you are interested in being a part this year, call Marian VanderSys at the Tourism Department, 505-827-7417.

MON, 9-10-07


JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505

(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



Post a Comment

<< Home