Darien’s Carol Wilder-Tamme will be riding in the Tournament of Roses Parade after having been selected to ride the Mayflower float as a Mayflower passenger attired descendant. She is currently hard at work helping to build the float in Pasadena, California.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower, The General Society of Mayflower Descendants will have a “The Voyage of Hope~1620” float in the Rose Parade (presented by Honda) on Jan. 1.

“There will be many parade activities that will increase public awareness of the inspirational story of 102 passengers who sailed the Atlantic to establish a colony with religious and civic freedom and wrote the Mayflower Compact which was the basis of American democracy and influenced the USA Constitution, all while wearing colorful 17th century clothing and hats without buckles,” according to the media release about the event.

Wilder-Tamme said she was selected after sending in an eight page application. Her Mayflower ancestors include: Francis Cooke (a Separatist that had lived in Leiden to escape persecution in England), and adventure sojourners; Richard Warren, Stephen Hopkins and his daughter Constance who was about 13 during the crossing.

“Making my costume was a long labor of love for the speakers guild and this once in a lifetime event! My husband Bill and I along with other friends are going to be ‘Petal Pushers’ gluing flowers and seeds on the float. It requires about 7,000 volunteer hours to build the float,” she said.

The California Mayflower website states the“Voyage of Hope~1620” float will be about 55 feet long and 18 feet wide. The mast will be able to collapse to 17 feet to go under a bridge on the parade route. The ship is not at full sail to show she is resting in the Cape Cod harbor where the foundational document, the Mayflower Compact was written which is shown next to the iconic Plymouth Rock. A shallop is carrying some passengers to their new land. The front of the float is covered with beautiful vegetation symbolizing the bounty of the survivors first harvest which lead to their Thanksgiving festival.

The Rose Parade begins at 8 a.m. PT/11 a.m. EST on Jan. 1, in Pasadena, California. It will be broadcast live on ABC and NBC at 11:30 a.m. EST.

The Rose Parade travels 5 ½ miles down Colorado Blvd. and features four types of entries: floral-decorated floats entered by a participating corporation, non-profit organization or municipality, equestrian units, bands, and Tournament Entries.

The earliest Tournament of Roses welcomed 3,000 spectators to its first parade filled with beautiful, horse-drawn carriages covered in flowers. More than a century later, the parade floats are a marvel of state of the art technology, all tucked away beneath flowers and other all-natural materials.

To assist with fundraising efforts, visit camayflower.org/ways-to-donate-to-2020.html.

To follow along with Wilder-Tamme’s journey, follow her blog here.