Schaumburg floral designer works on Rose Parade float
Lifelong Schaumburg resident and new business owner Holly Stechly fulfilled one of her dreams on New Year's Day by having her volunteer work showcased on a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.
"It was the most incredible experience of my lifetime," Stechly said of the days before, during and after the 130th annual event.
Stechly, who last June accomplished another life goal by opening her own business in Schaumburg called Every Flower Has A Story, was among the volunteers selected for the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association's 88th parade entry, titled "Harmony's Garden."
The float won the 2019 Director Trophy for Most Outstanding Artistic Design and Use of Floral and Non-Floral Materials.
Stechly said the parade is a competitive and high-level event that attracts a lot of Hollywood-type designers. Even the requirements for volunteers like herself are high, with some float designers employing an almost Catch-22 policy that their volunteers have to have worked on other floats first.
Stechly began calling around for opportunities last July to land her assignment with Sierra Madre. She arrived at Los Angeles Airport on the morning of Dec. 26, having volunteered for every available shift on the float.
Among the tasks she handled were painting the dark brown spots on the float with coffee grounds, painting a 3-D vertical object with flaxseed to make it look like a realistic tree, covering four water lilies with sushi rice and the entire front of the float with moss, and painting the rocks on the float.
As great as she found the "once-in-a-lifetime" experience, Stechly was just as delighted to be invited back next year. While she would love to be able to accept by this summer, much will depend on the obligations of her own burgeoning business.