The Rotary International float in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade is undoubtedly the largest public relations project of the Rotary clubs of the United States and Canada. The famous Pasadena, California parade is seen on New Year’s Day by an estimated 300 million people via worldwide television.The annual Rotary float is not a project of Rotary International. Rather, funds for the construction of the Rotary parade entry are voluntarily given by Rotarians, clubs, and districts in the United States and Canada. The cost of designing, constructing and flower-covering a Rose Parade float is well over $100,000. Approximately 93% of the money raised goes to the cost of building, decorating, and entering the float in the parade. The balance of the funds raised pays for business, banking, insurance, and other miscellaneous costs related to the float and hosting the RI president while attending the parade and other related activities. None of the money raised is spent on professional staff.
A multi-district Rotary committee in southern California coordinates the planning and execution of the Rotary float. Hundreds of Rotarians voluntarily travel to Pasadena each year to help put flowers on the Rotary float. The theme of this year’s float will be “All the Places We Go”, emphasizing Rotary’s worldwide reach to provide services and to promote peace. It will feature a globe and gears that move. It will also have cherry blossoms and origami to make the float’s design conform with President Tanaka’s theme for 2012-2013 – Peace through Service.