Illinois Pays Hefty Sum to Participate in Rose Parade


The state of Illinois spared no expense in taking part in this year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. 

According to documents obtained by The Center Square, the cost of constructing the Enjoy Illinois float, the performances and the entry fee cost taxpayers $560,000. 

The 24-foot-tall float took three months to build using around 22,000 volunteer hours and featured 30,000 flowers. The state hired the vocal group Straight No Chaser to ride and sing on the float.

The theme spotlighted the state’s music history along Route 66 and was called “Illinois: The Middle of Beats and Blues,” a nod to the state’s tourism campaign, “Middle of Everything.”

The float failed to grab any of the 24 float trophies awarded this year. 

This is the second year that Enjoy Illinois has entered a float in the Rose Parade. 

It remains to be seen the impact the float will have on tourism in the state. A request for comment from officials at Enjoy Illinois and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity were not returned.  

According to Tourism Economics, visitors to Illinois spent $44.3 billion in 2022, an increase of 37% over the prior year. Visitor spending fell just short of its 2019 level, reaching 97% of its pre-pandemic benchmark, while visitor volumes reached 91% of its 2019 level.

Greg Bishop contributed to this report. 

***Courtesy of the Illinois Radio Network***

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