Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chuck Jones’ Pepé Le Pew and hot air balloons featured on NM's Rose Bowl Parade float design

Despite 7.6% state budgets cuts across the board, the NM Tourism Department is moving forward with it's plans to participate in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade float.

Earlier this month Tourism Secretary Micheal Cerletti announced the float's theme, and tonight at the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, the group unveiled the floats design.

Academy-Award®-winning Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat, entertainers of the young and the young at heart for more than 60 years, will take to the southern California skies aboard one of the Land of Enchantment’s most iconic images when New Mexico’s float – “Enchantment is in the Air” - travels Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California January 1 in the 2010 Tournament of Roses® Parade.

Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat were created by the late cartoonist Chuck Jones. Even with his passing, Chuck’s ties to New Mexico remain strong - one of the three Chuck Jones Galleries is located near the Santa Fe Plaza.

The 2010 parade will be the fourth time in the past five years that New Mexico will be represented by a float in the Tournament of Roses® Parade, and it follows on the heels of last year’s float, “Hats Off To New Mexico – Beep Beep,” starring Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner, which won the Bob Hope Humor (“most comical and amusing”). The 2008 float, featuring Roswell aliens and Spaceport America, was also honored, as winner of the as Grand Marshal’s Trophy “for excellence in creative concept and design.” It is one of the top three awards given each year.

“The response the state has received from our appearances in the previous Tournament of Roses® Parades and the media efforts we sponsored primarily targeting the Southern California travel market have been tremendous,” Secretary Cerletti said. “This is an incredibly effective way to reach potential visitors to New Mexico from all around the country and all over the world.”

Nearly 40 million Americans in 16.5 million households tuned in to watch the parade on nine national and international television networks each year. The Parade is also broadcast live in 150 countries and territories worldwide. Other media-oriented events promoting New Mexico in Southern California are also being planned.

“During these tough economic times, it is important to remember that the mission of the New Mexico Tourism Department is to attract domestic and international visitors to New Mexico,” Secretary Cerletti said. “It is vital that we do everything we can to take advantage of unique opportunities to reach potential visitors. The Tournament of Roses® Parade is just one such effort. What it means - ultimately – is more tourism dollars to the state’s economy, benefiting all New Mexicans.”

Once again, the New Mexico float is designed by award-winning float designer Raul Rodriguez and built by Fiesta Parade Floats of Pasadena, Calif. under contract with the Tourism Department.

Nothing says “A Cut Above the Rest” (the theme of the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade) like New Mexico’s hot air balloons. “It can be a huge undertaking or something quite simple,” Secretary Cerletti said of the challenge to create a float that can represent New Mexico’s diverse entertainment offering in a colorful, eye-catching design.

“Fanciful balloons - marvelous, mysterious, colorful balloons - evoke all of the wonder and fun of childhood’s simplest joys,” Cerletti added. “Those children, now adults, can relive those magical days of youth in New Mexico. Whether traveling a winding mountain road or floating high above over cities, villages or the wide open plains in a hot-air balloon, visitors to New Mexico are ‘A Cut Above the Rest’.”

The love-struck French skunk Pepé Le Pew is seeking “l’amour” as he yet again is in romantic pursuit to seduce Penelope Pussycat with amorous gifts of red roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates. In her attempt to escape the ever-persistent Pepé, Penelope dangles precariously from the gondola of a swaying hot-air balloon. Pepé turns from side-to-side as he offers tokens of his affections.

The picturesque landscapes of New Mexico are comically depicted in animation art form from the snow-capped trees of the majestic mountains, through the teetering rock formations on down to the colorful desert floor bursting alive with blooming yuccas.

Pepé and Penelope will be artistically crafted in layers of velvety black onion seed and crisp white coconut flakes. The colorful hot air balloons are created in a rainbow of materials including yellow and gold strawflower petals, green split peas, blue, hot pink and purple sinuata statice, dehydrated carrot and red bell peppers, safflower spice, sweet rice and coconut flakes. The gondola baskets are woven in cornhusk and kiwi vines. Fiesta Parade Floats worked closely with Warner Bros. to insure the figures of Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat were reproduced to their exact specifications.

The colorful landscape of New Mexico comes vividly alive in over 50,000 roses. The unique rock formations are created in butterscotch and bronze chrysanthemums with striations of roses including brown Leonodis, Café Ole, Coffee Break and tan Caramel and Sahara roses. The desert floor comes vibrantly alive in orange rose shades of Saturno, Star 2000, Mercedes, Tropical Amazon and Verano. Fluffy clouds of white coconut flakes float above the landscape floor. Yucca blossoms have been created in over 10,000 white dendrobium orchid florets individually glued onto small welded rods.

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