Most Expensive Float Ever for South Pasadena | Seeking Funds to Cover Costs

South Pasadena Tournament of Roses organization is continuing to collect donation to cover the cost of this year's float.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | South News | South Pasadena’s float in Rose Parade could cost roughly $150,000, according Brant Dunlap, president of the local organization responsible for putting it on the parade route.

South Pasadena’s award-winning float in the 2022 Rose Parade came at a huge price as bills continue to roll into the organization overseeing the production of the city’s entry in the annual New Year’s Day spectacle.

“It’s possible we will exceed $150,000,” said Brant Dunlap, the president of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee.

Indeed, with increased construction and decorating costs, “Yes, this would be by far the most expensive float ever,” said Dunlap.

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As a result of COVID, most of the fundraising efforts bringing in revenue to pay for the major expenses were derailed throughout 2021 and look to make an impact as plans are already in the works for the 2023 parade.

“We fundraise for $100,000 every year,” explained Dunlap.  “We did not see the cost increases in floral and steel back in 2020 when we were planning for what became a paused parade in 2021.”

That was the year the event was called off for good on account of the pandemic. “Fast forward to 2022 parade and we witnessed the highest increases in prices ever,” Dunlap said. “We were committed to the community and the float for two-years. Nothing we could do about it. We are not in the hole but our discretionary funds have been tapped to cover the increased costs. Any and all donations are appreciated year-round. Five dollars or $5,000, it all makes difference and is greatly needed and appreciated.”

Among the setbacks for the all-volunteer organization was the live Crunch Time Party, the highest grossing fundraiser featuring dinner and an auction at the War Memorial Building, slated for last December. It was forced to be canceled on account of COVID.

“We had to make a last minute decision that was the right decision for the well-being of our community and supporters,” explained Dunlap. “We quickly diverted the items that were for the in-person ‘Crunch’ to the online auction. Thanks to the community and support from our fans around the country, we generated just over $28,000.”

Thanking those in town and others who come long distances to lend a hand, Dunlap recognizes it’s not easy building and decorating a float, and is grateful for those who continue to make it happen.

“The float is five generations strong,” said Dunlap when asked what keeps him coming back for more each year. “It’s community, it’s pride and it’s one of the oldest traditions alive in our city.”

He says “words can not say enough,” how he feels about the thousands of individuals over the years who have pitched into creating a floral masterpiece to represent South Pasadena that rolls down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard each January welcoming a new year. “The only thing I can say to those who give so much and sacrifice personal and family time is thank you for what you do!”

It might surprise some, noted Dunlap, that the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses committee works year round. “At best we get a couple of months off- April to June,” he said. “We start every year in December when we begin pushing out information about the following year’s design. For example, we have to submit our 2023 float design to the Pasadena Tournament of Rose on February 9 of this year and it takes time to solicit ideas from the community. We were given a hint for the next Rose Parade theme last January ”

South Pasadena’s float earned the 2022 Founder Award, bringing plenty of prestige to the community.

“It’s a remarkable accomplishment and should make us all so very proud,” said Dunlap. “We couldn’t continue to do it without the strong community support.”

Those wishing to make a contribution to the float that just took part in the 133rd Rose Parade are urged to visit or mail donations to South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, P.O. Box 3662, South Pasadena, California 91031.