First-Ever Armenian Float in Tournament of Roses Parade Wins Presidential Award


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PASADENA, Calif. — The first Armenian American Rose Float Association (AARFA) won the 2015 New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses’ President’s Award for most effective floral use and presentation for their “Cradle of Civilization” float. The float was featured in the 126th Rose Parade along with other floats from around the area.

The theme of the parade was “inspiring stories” to pay tribute to the people of the community who “loved unconditionally, persevered courageously, endured patiently and accomplished much on behalf of others.”

The “Cradle of Civilization” featured different aspects of the Armenian community. The art display featured a sculpture of an Armenian woman’s head wearing a traditional Armenian headdress, as well as an apricot and a pomegranate tree. A bushel of grapes represented the earliest wine-making facility found in Armenia. The display also included a carpet-weaving machine, a traditional Armenian carpet, the Armenian symbol for eternity, and an arch representative of Armenian architecture from 4,500 years ago.

Prominent members of the Armenian-American community rode along with the float. These figures included the following: former Governor of California George Deukmejian and his wife Gloria; US Federal Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, the first Armenian immigrant federal judge in the US; actress Angela Sarafyan, known for her roles in the “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” (part two) and The Immigrant;  internationally celebrated lawyer Attorney Mark J. Greagos; former Pasadena Chief of Police Barney Melekian; Coach Jerry Tarkanian, also known as “Tark the Shark”; Flora Dunaians, a Pasedena resident and founder of Armenian International Women’s Association of Los Angeles; and Jill Simonian, author of the popular “Fab Mom” blog.