Seymour florist helps float win top honors at Rose Parade



Working on Tournament of Roses Parade floats isn’t anything new to Seymour floral designer Bobby Eldridge.

Over the years, Eldridge has proven himself as one of the best in the nation — and world — when it comes to his craft, as his work has been seen by millions across the globe each year on New Year’s Day since 2003.

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While his teams have received numerous awards over the years for their work, the 131st Rose Parade, will always stick out to Eldridge.

On Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California, The UPS Store’s 2020 Rose Parade float “Stories Change Our World” earned the Sweepstakes Trophy, which is the top award given out at the world-famous event. The parade always leads up to the Rose Bowl college football game.

Sweepstakes is judged by most beautiful float encompassing float design, floral presentation and entertainment.

For Eldridge, a Crothersville native, it was the first time he had worked on a float that won sweepstakes.

“To have the top honors … it is the biggest deal,” he said. “You’re going up against designers from across the world. It’s a big deal for a little Seymour guy. I’ve worked in the floral industry for my entire life. It’s a huge deal for me and a huge accomplishment.”

The sweepstakes was a long time coming for Eldridge.

Eldridge, owner of Prestigious Affairs in downtown Seymour with his wife, Dawn, was inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers in 2002. After his induction, Eldridge got the opportunity to sign a contract with Fiesta Parade Floats.

He has been invited back each year since by the company.

The UPS Store’s float wasn’t the only one Eldridge oversaw for the 2020 parade. He also worked on The General Society of Mayflower Descendants’ “The Voyage of Hope-1620.”

The Mayflower float won the Americana Award for most outstanding depiction of national treasures and traditions.

All of the features on the floats were made of either flowers or organic materials.

“Every year, we get more responsibility. We are shakers and movers,” Eldridge said. “I have a great team. This year, we had The UPS Store, which was ginormous, and we had the Mayflower, which was intricate. To be responsible for two huge floats is a big deal.”

Eldridge and his team arrived in California on Dec. 26 and went straight to work. He said the float was finished Dec. 30, and they were working on a 24-hour schedule.

Eldridge felt the floral artistry is what set the floats apart from the others.

“With The UPS Store, we did kind of a color-blocking technique,” he said. “I think there is huge power in color. The Mayflower was a little more traditional. With The UPS Store, we had such beautiful product, I think it made it pop and stand out. We had the flexibility to be very artistic in the design.”

Overall, Fiesta Parade Floats won 10 awards among 39 float entries.

The theme of the 2020 Rose Parade was “The Power of Hope,” selected by the Tournament of Roses’ first Latina president, Laura Farber.

Fiesta Parade Floats, which is based in Irwindale, California, is led by President Tim Estes and Vice President and Floral Director Jim Hynd. Estes and Hynd are supported by a staff of world-renowned float designers and artists.

Eldridge’s work has been in the national spotlight on more than one occasion.

One of his biggest jobs to date is working on events surrounding the 2016 presidential inauguration.

While he might not be able to top the sweepstakes, Eldridge doesn’t plan on stopping floral design any time soon.

“I love the industry,” he said. “We have kind of built a floral family out there.”

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