Next time you’re at Tournament House, you’ll likely notice some big changes in the Rose Room. While there was a team who has been working over the past several months to bring this renovation to completion, Tournament Member Cynthia Lambakis was integral to the renovations of the Rose Room remodel. At the intersection of her passion for service and her career in design, Cynthia’s involvement in this project has breathed new life into the Rose Room and Tournament House for years to come.

Cynthia’s journey with the Tournament of Roses began in 2013, a year marked by new beginnings and exciting opportunities. Starting with the Post Parade committee, under the leadership of then Chair Ed Morales, Cynthia found herself fully immersed in the amazing experience of volunteering for the Rose Parade. “Those first two years were special,” she reminisces, “especially now with Ed as President — it feels like coming full circle.”

Transitioning through different committees over the years, including Float Entries and now Float Construction, Cynthia’s passion for the Tournament has only deepened. Her fondest memories? “Being on Float Entries and serving as a troubleshooter on the Parade route,” she shares. “There’s something magical about helping others amidst the excitement of the Parade.”

As a key player in the renovation project of the Rose Room, Cynthia brought her keen eye for design and practicality to the table. The vision was clear: to reimagine the space with light, elegance and durability while maintaining synergy with the rest of the house and its antique nature. “Revamping the walls was particularly exciting,” Cynthia explains. “We opted for a traditional wainscot beneath the chair railing, complemented by a durable vinyl wallcovering above—a practical choice for a high-traffic area.” The true challenge was finding the perfect carpet that was both durable and architecturally aesthetic. “It was about striking a balance,” she says. “But discovering a commercial carpet with a botanical pattern that complimented the room’s textures was a triumph.”

 

This year, Cynthia returns to Float Construction for her second year, taking on the roles of Barn Chief for the AES barn and Captain of the Float Operators Dinner. “I’m eager for the Float Operators Dinner,” she shares, “ensuring all our guests have a memorable experience, and overseeing the meticulous float inspections throughout the season.”

Reflecting on past highlights, one of Cynthia’s “Best Day Ever” moments was attending the wedding of a former student she hosted in 2009 to study English. Cynthia has hosted many students over the years from Spain, Italy and France, but this student in particular holds a special friendship and relationship with Cynthia as being her first student she hosted. “She’s like a daughter to me,” Cynthia says, “Being part of her special day and treated like one of the family on her wedding day is irreplaceable.”

As Cynthia readies up for another parade season, her commitment to service, creativity and community shines bright and refreshed, much like that of the Rose Room renovation.