One of the first things Nello Iacono discovered when he was hired by the city of Glendale’s Parks and Recreation Division in 1978 was that the department’s staff was heavily involved in the city’s annual entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade. And that’s why he was in the driver’s seat the year the float clipped a grandstand.
Iacono learned that not only did staffers oversee the decorating, they escorted the float from the builder to the staging area on Orange Grove Boulevard in time for judging, provided overnight security and then drove the float along the parade route.
So for many New Year’s Eves, Iacono and his crew accompanied the float on its journey, protecting it from bystanders along the way.
“Some wanted to take flowers off the float, others rescued flowers if they fell off due to road hazards or vibrations and handed them back to us,” he said.