Rose Parade float to highlight Illinois as a tourist destination


Illinois will be well represented on the national stage Monday, with a float making its debut in the Rose 134 parade.

“American Idol” finalist Grace Kinstler, an Illinois native, will perform live from the float, showcasing Illinois tourism and the state’s travel diversity.

The Rose Parade, often called the Tournament of Roses Parade, is one of the most popular New Year’s parades in the country and is broadcast live from Pasadena, California. It airs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays.

The 24-foot-tall state float was built over four months, with volunteers saving 22,000 hours to complete it. It houses nearly 30,000 flowers.

Using the Enjoy Illinois campaign theme of “Illinois. Amidst It All,” the float includes a replica of the Abraham Lincoln statue, the Route 66 sign and such attractions as the Chicago Navy Pier Centennial Wheel, an actual waterfall representing the Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Forest and skyscrapers Clouds, Cloud Gate—also known as the bean—and plenty of the state’s official flower, the violet.

“Growing up in the Midwest, our family enjoyed many trips to Illinois and was amazed by the beauty of the state. Welcoming the beauty of Illinois to the show brought up cherished family memories,” said Amy Winscott, President of the 2023 Pasadena of Roses Tournament.

Kinstler, who will perform her original song, “Leo,” said she was honored “to represent my home country and get the opportunity of a lifetime to sing at the famous Rose Parade. This is an amazing opportunity to start the new year in a way that makes me feel like I’m back in the sweet home of Chicago.”