Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade 2024: The Winners

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By Jill Brooke

Tradition, marching bands, and good weather prevailed at the 135th Rose Parade in California to welcome 2024.

For months, floral artists have been working hard to create floats with thousands of roses and other flowers that will attract the judges’ attention and entertain the huge crowds that line the 5.5-mile parade on New Year’s Day.

The 2024 Sweepstakes Trophy, the coveted top prize for floral design was awarded to the San Diego Zoo for its 55-foot  float “It All Started With a Roar.” This also marks the 100th anniversary of the award.

San Diego Zoo

While the San Diego Zoo’s Mascot Rex the Lion did come in with a roar other floats depicting animals warmed the hearts of not only the public but judges too.

Twenty-three floats won a variety of awards.

Cal Poly Universities – Pasadena Tournament of Roses
Core Kidney – Photo: Pasadena Rose Parade

Cal Poly University won for its “innovative and imaginative” float while the Core Kidney Foundation also won for its use of color harmony in their float.

Sierra Madre Rose Float Association

Sierra Madre Rose Float Association won for the best use of roses – which of course is what the theme of this bucket list event is all about.

Actress Audra McDonald was this year’s Grand Marshall of the event which is also presented by Honda.

The first Pasadena Tournament of Roses was in 1890. According to organizers, more than 10 years after the parade itself first started, the football games began. The initial purpose of the Rose Bowl game was a way to raise funds to support the parade. The teams play the game in the Rose Bowl Stadium which has a sitting capacity of more than 92,000 people. Although the game didn’t take on sponsorship for many years, it started to in 1999 and for the first time it was sponsored by AT&T. Since 1999, the Rose Bowl game has had sponsors like Playstation 2, Sony, Citi, Vizio, and Northwestern Mutual. ESPN currently owns the broadcasting rights.

Now the parade is also broadcast to an adoring public. Community members volunteer an estimated 80,000 hours to create each year’s parade which is quite the spectacle.  FTD® is the official floral partner of the Tournament of Roses as it is for many floral events throughout the world.

Here are other eye-popping fabulous floats for 2024.

Pasadena Humane and Hill’s Pet Nutrition
City of Torrance
Western Asset
One Legacy Donate Life
Lutheran Hour Ministries
City of Alhambra
2024 Tournament of Roses Rose Court

Photo Credits: Pasadena Tournament of Roses

Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD and a contributor to Florists Review magazine. She also won the 2023 AIFD (American Institute of Floral Designers) Merit Award for showing how flowers impact history, news and culture