FTD float riders include Mardi Gras Indian Cherice Harrison-Nelson and local musicians from Shamarr Allen Band
Downers Grove, IL (December 26, 2007) -- Florists’ Transworld Delivery, Inc. (FTD), a leading provider of floral products and services, is celebrating its 55th year in the Rose Parade® by honoring the residents of New Orleans and reveling in the “Magic of Mardi Gras.” The 2008 FTD float riders are all Hurricane Katrina survivors and residents of the newly-constructed New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village, a neighborhood being built in the hurricane-destroyed Upper Ninth Ward.
The FTD float entry, appearing on January 1, 2008 in the 119th Rose Parade, will project the merriment and brilliance of Mardi Gras that has been celebrated for more than 300 years in New Orleans. Featuring more than 100,000 roses, the glittering style and carefree folly of costumed revelers, music and dance is magnificently captured in the float’s floral juxtaposition of color and excitement.
Float Riders from New Orleans
The float consists of three floral arenas – two of which feature New Orleanians who are residents of the newly-constructed New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village and survived Hurricane Katrina. The front area has an oversized sculpture lion, bedecked in opulent royal jewels and a platform carrying Mardi Gras Indian Cherice Harrison-Nelson, the Counsel Queen of the Guardians of the Flame Mardi Gras Indian Group and educator, in her elaborate ritual attire. Mardi Gras Indians have been a historic part of the celebration since the 19th century.
Taking center stage are ornately carved and vividly colorful busts of jesters and Carnival Queen characters that slowly spin on a rotating crown amid floral fireworks and exploding stars. The entire center section of the float, featuring a large crown, jesters and Carnival Queen heads, rotates 360 degrees, and will have a lavishly costumed woman perched high on top of the crown.
The third floral area on the float displays velvety royal robes, draping from a crown of solid roses creating the curtain for the rear platform stage where New Orleans style jazz will be performed live by trumpeter Shamarr Allen and his band. Shamarr Allen was born in New Orleans and has been immersed in music since the age of 7. He has played with some of New Orleans’ most prominent jazz musicians including Harry Connick Jr., Branford Marsalis and Aaron Neville, and also runs a weekly music clinic for middle and high school children interested in jazz in New Orleans.
In honor of the 2008 Rose Parade float riders, FTD is helping to spread the message of this unique community at www.FTD.COM/NewOrleans, where 10% of each product purchased will be donated to the New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village project, which includes the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music. (www.NOLAmusiciansvillage.org)
FTD’s 55th Float Entry
The 2008 Rose Parade marks FTD’s 55th year as a parade participant, making FTD the longest running commercial participant in the Rose Parade today. As the Official Floral Company of the Tournament of Roses, FTD’s continued presentation of stunning floral entries never fails to support the Rose Parade’s tradition of excellence. Since FTD’s first entry in the Rose Parade, FTD has received 36 trophies for outstanding floats, including the grand prize Sweepstakes Trophy in 2007 and 2006.
FTD’s 55th Rose Parade float entry, “The Magic of Mardi Gras,” is a tribute to the colorful history of Mardi Gras and honors the residents of New Orleans who are working to re-build their lives and homes post-Hurricane Katrina. The colors of Mari Gras are featured throughout the float; purple represents justice, green stands for faith and gold for power. Topiary orbs of roses, in various color tones, float over gardens of 60,000 vibrant red Charlotte roses. Crowns of golden strawflower petals are imbedded with thousands of bright scarlet red Rouge Baiser roses. Jesters and Carnival Queen costuming, predominantly in Mari Gras colors, will be embellished with an array of roses.
Décor for the Tournament of Roses
As the Official Floral Company of the Tournament of Roses, FTD donates hundreds of thousands of flowers to the events surrounding the Rose Parade to help bring to life the historic events. The flowers are seen starting with the announcement of the Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade and the announcement of the competing Rose Bowl Game® teams. FTD also spreads cheer throughout the Wrigley Mansion, the home to the Tournament of Roses, with exquisite holiday décor.
“The Rose Parade is a very special event that embodies the spirit and purpose of FTD – to share the beauty of flowers,” said Michael Soenen, FTD CEO and President. “We are proud to be the Official Floral Sponsor of the Tournament of Roses, and bring joy and merriment to the millions of people worldwide that watch the parade in Pasadena and at home on television.”
In addition, FTD also sponsors the decoration of the official cars, which carry the President of the Tournament of Roses, the Grand Marshal of the Parade and the Mayor of Pasadena down the parade route. FTD sponsors Houston, Texas resident and FTD Design Instructor J. Keith White AIFD to lead the design and decoration of the official cars in the parade.
About FTD Group, Inc.
FTD Group, Inc. is a leading provider of floral related products and services to consumers and retail florists, as well as other retail locations offering floral products, in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland. The business utilizes the highly recognized FTD and Interflora brands, both supported by the Mercury Man logo, which is displayed in approximately 45,000 floral shops worldwide. The consumer businesses operate primarily through the www.ftd.com Web site in the U.S. and Canada and the www.interflora.co.uk Web site in the U.K. and are complemented by the florist businesses which provide products and services to the Company’s independent members.