Photo albums: Award-winning floats in the 2020 Rose Parade

“Stories Change Our World” sponsored by The UPS Store won Sweepstakes in the 131st Rose Parade with its display of golden lion tamarin monkeys.


by Laura Berthold Monteros

“The Power of Hope,” theme of the 131st Tournament of Roses, inspired floats with different stories to tell, but all with optimism and aspiration. From the humor of dodo birds flying a zeppelin to men and women in a cargo ship crossing the ocean in 1620 seeking freedom, the floats were a panoply of artistry, imagination, beauty, and hope.

Below are three photo galleries with images of the award winners in four categories: Sweepstakes, Entertainment Value, Float Design, Floral Design. There are six self-built winners and floats from professional builders AES, Fiesta Parade Floats, and Phoenix Decorating Company. The captions name the award and give a little information about each entry.

Rose Parade Trophies Get an Update for 2018 lists all the awards and what each one means. Rose Parade 2020 award-winning floats; The UPS Store takes Sweepstakes lists the 2020 winning floats, with sponsors, builders, and designers.

Sweepstakes and Entertainment Value

Float Design

Floral Design

Burbank and Sikh American floats had stories to tell in the 2020 Rose Parade

by Laura Berthold Monteros

For The Rose Examiner, the week between Boxing Day and the Showcase of Floats is packed with preparations for the Tournament of Roses Parade and visits to the barns to see the floats in the final stages. We especially like being able to talk to some of the people who are working on the floats.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a couple weeks since we spoke with folks during Deco Week. We had conversations with Linda Cozakos and Erik C. Andersen at Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, and Harry Gill and Maninder Minu Singh, creative director of the Sikh American Float Foundation, in the Phoenix Decorating Company barn.

Be sure to check out the photos in the gallery below for the two floats in progress

Burbank “Rise Up”

Erik C. Andersen and Linda Cozakos explain the various choices of botanicals for the beak of the phoenix on “Rise Up.”

Burbank’s 88th Rose Parade entry won the Leishman Public Spirit Award for most outstanding floral design and display from a non-commercial participant. In keeping with the parade theme “The Power of Hope,” the float depicted a giant phoenix being reborn from the ashes of the 8,527 wildfires that destroyed 1,893,913 acres of homes, businesses, farmland, and wildland in California 2018. A waterfall in front, surrounded by lush vegetation, offered hope that the land will be renewed.

Named “Paradise” in honor of the town that was nearly wiped out in the Camp Fire—two of designer Lisa Long’s nephews battled the fire there—the bird’s body rose and fell and head turned side to side. In a first for Burbank, three fireballs shot out of the tail feathers.

We talked to Cozakos and Andersen about the florals used for the colors and textures on the phoenix. Floral decorators always keep an eye out for new materials or ways to use old ones, and the beak of the bird had a rather unusual choice.

Cozakos said the frilly acorn caps lining the top of the beak can only be found in Griffith Park on one particular tree. One of the members of BTORA discovered them and has returned to collect them as needed. Mustard seed, fava beans, dried mango, and two purple potatoes for nostrils completed the beak, with vermilion Chinese lanterns around the eyes.

The feathers on the face and body were whole magnolia leaves and palm leaves that had been torn into thin strips. The leaves were covered with ground yellow and orange marigolds, sumac, and paprika to simulate the fiery colors of the phoenix.

Remembering a different kind of tragedy, roses with the names of the Saugus High School shooting victims attached were on the float, as well as dried agapanthus from the school. The roses will be returned to the parents after the parade.

Sikh American “Planting Seeds of Hope”

Harry Gill and Minu Singh stand before the Sikh American float.

The theme of the Sikh American float was realized with a fanciful garden and rotating carousel filled with children of various ethnicities. Through selfless service to humanity with love, respect, compassion, and humility, Sikhs hope to nurture an environment in which children can grow and thrive.

A sculpture of  Bhai Ghaneya Singh sat at the front, pouring water out of a leather bag. Bhai Ghaneya was a compassionate man who carried water to the troops in the 1704 war of Anandpur Sahib. Harry Gill told us the story behind the image.

Bhai Ghaneya gave water to both the Sikhs and their Mughal enemies, thus planting seeds of love. For this, he was brought before Guru Gobind Singh. Bhai Ghaneya’s defense was “I see God in every one of them.” The Guru replied, “Give everyone water and also apply medicine on their wounds,” Gill said. “He’s the forerunner of the Red Cross, more than 300 years ago.”

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, said “there is only one God of the whole world; the same light shines in every person,” Gill said, regardless of color, creed, or gender. “Even emperors are born of women.”

Award winning-floats in the 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade

Deco Week galleries




Rose Parade 2020 award-winning floats; The UPS Store takes Sweepstakes

by Laura Berthold Monteros

For the second consecutive year, The UPS Store won the Sweepstakes trophy. “Stories Change Our World” was designed by Charles Meier and built by Fiesta Parade Floats.

Here’s the breakdown on the 131st Tournament of Roses Parade award-winning floats builders: AES, 2; Fiesta Parade Floats, 10; Phoenix Decorating Company, 6; self-builts, 6. The last time all six self-built floats won awards was 2016. The associations did a great job with animation, float design, and floral presentation this year.

Here are the winning designers: Michelle Lofthouse, 5 (Phoenix); Mike Abboud, 4 (Fiesta); Art Aguirre, 2 (Fiesta); Charles Meier, 2 (Fiesta); Stanley Meyer, 2 (Fiesta); John Ramirez, 2 (AES); Rachel Lofthouse, 1 (Phoenix)

To find out what each award means, read Rose Parade trophies get an update for 2018

For a listing of all the floats in the 2020 Rose Parade, read List of floats in the 2020 Rose Parade with titles, builders, designers


131st Tournament of Roses Parade Award Winners


Award Float Sponsor Builder/Designer
Sweepstakes Award The UPS Store, Inc. “Stories Change Our World” Fiesta Parade Floats

Charles Meier

Entertainment Value

Extraordinaire Award Chinese American Heritage Foundation (CAHF) “American Heroes” Fiesta Parade Floats

Mike Abboud

Wrigley Legacy Award Kaiser Permanente “Courage to Reimagine” Fiesta Parade Floats

Stanley Meyer

Judges Award Donate Life “Light in the Darkness” Fiesta Parade Floats

Charles Meier

Showmanship Award The Cowboy Channel “Walk Ride Rodeo” Phoenix Decorating Company

Rachel Lofthouse

Float Design

Theme Award Pasadena Celebrates 2020 “Years of Hope, Years  of Courage” AES

John Ramirez

Bob Hope Humor Award La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association “Dodo Bird Flight School” Self-Built

Ted Baumgart, Grant Delgatty

Director Award Cal Poly Universities “Aquatic Aspirations” Self-Built


Crown City Innovator Award Trader Joe’s “It Takes a Flight of Fancy” Phoenix Decorating Company

Michelle Lofthouse

Grand Marshal Award Chipotle Mexican Grill “Cultivate the Future of Farming” Fiesta Parade Floats

Mike Abboud

Fantasy Award Northwestern Mutual “Spend Your Life Living” Fiesta Parade Floats

Stanley Meyer

Animation Award Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day “Plant a Garden…Believe in Tomorrow” Phoenix Decorating Company

Michelle Lofthouse

Americana Award General Society of Mayflower Descendants “The Voyage of Hope – 1620” Fiesta Parade Floats

Mike Abboud

Golden State Award Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens “Cultivating Curiosity” Phoenix Decorating Company

Michelle Lofthouse

Mayor Award South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association “Victory at Last” Self-Built

Michael Mera

Floral Design

President Award Sierra Madre Rose Float Association “Ka lā hiki ola” Self-Built

Jason Redfox

Isabella Coleman Award AIDS Healthcare Foundation “Hope for the Homeless” Fiesta Parade Floats

Art Aguirre

Queen Award Dole Packaged Foods “Sunshine for All” Fiesta Parade Floats

Mike Abboud

Leishman Public Spirit Award Burbank Tournament of Roses Association “Rise Up” Self-Built

Lisa Long

Princess Award City of Torrance “Our Garden of Hope and Dreams” Fiesta Parade Floats

Art Aguirre

Past President Award City of Hope “City of Hope” Phoenix Decorating Company

Michelle Lofthouse

Founder Award Downey Rose Float Association “On the Wings of Hope” Self-Built

Thom Neighbors, Carrie Redfox

International Award China Airlines “Dreams of Flying, Wings of Hope” AES

John Ramirez

Tournament Volunteer Award Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee “Hope Connects the World” Phoenix Decorating Company

Michelle Lofthouse

TOTALS AES 2 Fiesta 10 Phoenix 6 Self-Built 6