Fans of the Rose Parade will have something new to see as The Illinois Office of Tourism makes its first ever float appearance at the 134th parade on Monday, January 2 in Pasadena, California.

The Enjoy Illinois float highlights the state’s extraordinary attractions and distinctive destinations and brings the state’s tourism slogan, “Illinois. The Middle of Everything,” to life. The float will feature a live musical performance from “American Idol” finalist and Illinois native Grace Kinstler, who will perform her original song, “Leo.”

The float shows a replica of the bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln from Lincoln’s Tomb, a historic Route 66 sign and a striking recreation of the Centennial Wheel at Chicago’s Navy Pier on one end. The other end emphasizes the stunning Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest, including an actual waterfall with flowing water and towering trees displaying fall colors. Balloons floating above the trees represent the numerous hot air balloon festivals that can be found throughout the state. In the center of the float, viewers can see Chicago skyscrapers and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”) surrounded by violets, the state’s official flower. The 24-foot-tall float took four months to build, features nearly 30,000 flowers and took nearly 22,000 volunteer hours to create.

“Growing up in the Midwest, our family enjoyed many trips to Illinois and marveled in the beauty of the state. Welcoming Enjoy Illinois to the parade has brought up cherished family memories,” said Amy Wainscott, 2023 Pasadena Tournament of Roses President. “Having the state that meant so much to me as a child be a part of this most amazing time in my adult life exemplifies why the Rose Parade is so special.”

The 2023 Pasadena Tournament of Roses theme, “Turning the Corner”, celebrates the unlimited potential that each new year brings and aligns with the Enjoy Illinois Middle of Everything float.

“I’m honored to represent my home state and get the chance of a lifetime to perform at the iconic Rose Parade,” said American Idol finalist and Illinois native Grace Kinstler. “This is a great opportunity to kick off the new year in a way that makes me feel like I’m back in sweet home Chicago.”

The Enjoy Illinois Middle of Everything float will be available for viewing after the parade on January 3 during Float Fest, accompanied by a special appearance from Big Lincoln. To learn more about Illinois and to plan an Illinois getaway, click here.