'Dream come true'
Local group unveils 2015 Rose Parade float celebrating Armenian Americans
The Armenian Rose Float Association (ARFA) will unveil the design of its first Rose Parade float Saturday during a private event.
The float reflects thousands of years of Armenian culture, music, faith and tradition. The main depiction on the float is a dancing Armenian woman dressed in a robe. The float will also feature other elements of the Armenian culture, including religious instruments and symbols of faith.
“We found out we had an Armenian grand marshal in the parade 100 years ago and we came together and started talking about a float,” said local activist Chris Chahinian, a onetime candidate for City Council. “It’s going very well. The Armenian community is excited about this idea.”
In 1915, local business owner M.S. Pashgian, an Armenian American, was chosen to be the grand marshal in the Rose Parade. Members of Pashgian’s family were scheduled to be at the unveiling on Saturday.
The float, which has already been accepted into the 2015 parade, will be built by Phoenix Decorating Co. Phoenix was awarded six trophies at the 2014 Rose Parade. The theme of the 2015 parade is “Inspiring Stories.”
“We chose Phoenix Decorating Co. because they have become the leader in float development, construction, decoration and presentation.” Chahinian said.
“We [the Armenian community] have a long history in Pasadena, and we’re looking forward to participating in this year’s theme, especially because we have so many inspiring stories to share,” he said.
Chahinian said he hopes to have a float commemorating Armenian Americans in parades to come.
Next year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Also known among Armenians as the Great Crime, the genocide began in 1915 and, by the time it ended eight years later, 1.5 million Armenians had been hanged, poisoned, drowned or marched into the desert to die at the hands of soldiers from the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Along with the Jewish Holocaust and the enslavement of African Americans, it remains one of the darkest episodes in human history.
A memorial to the victims of that horrific event will be unveiled next year in Memorial Park.
“We’re sharing Armenian culture and heritage with the Pasadena community and beyond,” said Chahinian. The float, he said, “represents Armenians around the world, and it is a dream come true.”