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Torrance News Torch

Torrance News Torch

The History of the Santa Float


The Santa Float is an annual phenomenon for kids and adults alike around this time each year. Started by the Torrance Police Officers Association in 1969, the float makes its rounds around different neighborhoods and parks throughout the city.

The float was built in 1969 by a team of six officers, headed by Lyndal Spradlin (Yeah, Spradlin as in Spraddy’s dad) and consisting of Mike Terry, Steve Badenoch, Steve Ross, Mike Wheeler and Tim Hillis. With their combined efforts and the help of officers, the float was ready to go. Since then, the float has toured Torrance every year for the last 54 years.

Of course, it wasn’t without roadblocks. A week before the float was supposed to go out in 1993, it was severely vandalized. Sound equipment and seat cushions were stolen, and several things were broken. The main six who had built the original float, worried that they wouldn’t be able to roll out that year, spent the entire week working to make sure that the float would be ready, even sacrificing Thanksgiving time with their families. Eventually, after a ton of work and donations, the team was able to have the float up and running that year. The Torrance Airport now lends a hangar to use for the float to ensure that it won’t ever be vandalized again.

The Santa Float is completely managed by the Torrance Police Officers Association, whose families often volunteer to work the float. The TPOA also makes sure the float is ready before it starts each year, replacing lights, giving it a fresh paint job, and making repairs. This year, however, due to a “critical manpower shortage”, the float visited only ten locations over ten days instead of the normal route that journeys through the city through the beginning of November and the end of December over twenty-two days. The float is over for now, but it’ll make its grand return again next year.

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Lyndal Spradlin working on the float.

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