Rose Parade Floats Dazzle

Derek Stowe

Thousands flocked to Pasadena to see the 47 flower-covered Rose Parade floats representing various communities, schools and companies on a cool but sunny New Year’s Day.

After the 5 1/2-mile parade, the floats were put on display near Pasadena High School where some 150 thousand people swarmed Sierra Madre Boulevard to get an up close view.

Tournament awards are based on qualities such as creativity, floral craftsmanship, artistic excellence, computer animation and color presentation.

Slideshow Media Credit: Derek Stowe

The Bob Hope Humor Award for the most comical float went to Quickrete Companies for their 55-foot “What America’s Made Of” float, which displayed three scenes from the fairy tale, “Three Little Pigs.”

“Pac-Man’s 30th Anniversary Party” float sponsored by Namco Bandai Games America featured a yellow Pac-Man holding a cake and was honored for outstanding showmanship.

Cal Poly won the Fantasy Award with its float, “Galactic Expedition.” This float also won the Viewers’ Choice Award for receiving 10,802 of the 44,730 total votes submitted online and by text-message.

“It was a mostly sunny ‘chamber of commerce’ day, but it was a little cold,” said Tournament of Roses member Nick Lowe. Post-parade viewing attracted a full crowd this year, and to protect homeowners, the city streets were blocked off for half-a-mile in all directions.

Lowe volunteered along with 935 other Tournament members to be on one of 31 committees ranging from manning the post-parade viewing area to monitoring ticket sales.

Lowe said the floats take from eight to twelve months to design and only natural flowers and plants are used to adorn them. There are no paints or dyes used. Some flowers are ground up and blended together to make extra smooth coats of a specific color.

“Students,” said Lowe, “should come out and volunteer to decorate. It’s a great way to ‘take ownership’ of the parade and be a part of the celebration.”

Float registration for volunteers starts in October, and the floral decorating takes place between Christmas and New Year’s. This year there were about 15,000 registered volunteers.

Viewing the Rose Parade floats up close communicates the labor of love that goes into them. In some cases, such as the portraits of film characters, features were so finely detailed that they appeared to be air-brushed photographs.

For more Rose Parade information visit:, or call (626) 449-4100.