National FFA to welcome new year in Rose Parade

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PASADENA, Calif. — The National FFA Organization will welcome the new year in style, boasting one of the largest floats in this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade New Year’s Day in Pasadena.

The float, sponsored by RFD-TV, will measure 75 feet long, 30 feet tall and 18 feet wide. It will feature three “gigantic” sculptures depicting FFA members engaging in agricultural, educational and development skills.

The historically significant FFA emblem will be portrayed, in addition to a horse, combine, barn and windmill, a stand of evergreens, a grove of fruit trees and some urban buildings.

Lots of participants

Walking alongside the float will be the 2009-2010 national officer team, National FFA Adviser Larry Case, the four Stars over America and up to 52 FFA presidents from every state in the nation, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Ohio’s FFA president, Hocking County resident Jeremy Grove, is excited about the float and what it will mean to millions of viewers.

Grove will fly to California Dec. 30, to help complete decorations.

“With Ohio being one of the top states for agriculture, this will definitely be a great opportunity, not only for just the American viewers, but also internationally,” he told Farm and Dairy.

Symbolically decorated

The float is being designed to represent all FFA members, past and present, and to portray a positive image of agriculture into rural, suburban and urban-based homes.

It will be decorated with more than 10,000 fresh flowers, as well as commodities grown by the American farmer, including corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton.

RFD-TV. All of the float costs and expenses are being underwritten by RFD-TV and its sponsors and advertisers associated with its live broadcast of the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade and Equestfest.

“When we first learned of the 2010 Rose Parade theme, ‘A Cut Above The Rest,’ we immediately thought of FFA,” said Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of RFD-TV, in a released statement.

He called the float “an opportunity to not only pay tribute to the world’s premiere youth organization, but at the same time to also showcase FFA activities on a world stage in this continuing effort to connect and educate the urban world about the positive aspects of rural America.”

Story to tell

Bill Stagg, communications director for the National FFA — an organization more than half a million youth — said the this historic gathering of members will have a world-wide audience.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to communicate the FFA message to the world,” he said. “The float is beautiful, and it will be a beacon of pride for all associated with FFA.

“The opportunity to assemble so many FFA leaders in one place at one time has never happened before, outside of our annual convention.”

Tune in. The Tournament of Roses Parade is simultaneously carried live or on tape delay by six national or cable television networks in the United States (ABC, NBC, HGTV, Univision, RFD-TV/RFD HD, KTLA). It begins at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

The parade will also be distributed into more than 110 countries around the world.

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

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