The Rose Parade, formally known as The Tournament of Roses Parade, is an annual parade held every New Year's Day (January 1st) in Pasadena, California since 1890. Beginning in 1902, the parade has been traditionally followed by the Rose Bowl college football game.
Chrysler Corporation's Sesame Street float in the 1971 parade was dubbed "Thru the Eyes of a Child" and built from suggestions sent in from all over the United States and Canada. The float was 55 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 17 feet high (the maximum dimensions allowed at the time), and made from 25,000 roses.
In 1982 the theme of the parade was "Friends and Neighbors". An elaborate float featuring Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog was featured. Piggy was reclining on a chaise while Kermit, decked out in a top hat and bow tie, serenaded her on his banjo. Sweetums and Timmy Monster rode on the float, alongside several children.
The float was sponsored by America's Credit Unions (CUNA) and was the first float in the parade, introducing the theme for the parade. The float was created with Chamois carnations for Miss Piggy's complexion, while Kermit was constructed from chopped chartreuse lichen moss over a foundation of sheet moss. The float included over 30,000 roses, including Royalty red and Bridal pink. The float itself was constructed by Fiesta Floats.
The front of the float featured a Fozzie Bear walk-around positioning his movie camera, hovering over the theme of "Friends and Neighbors."
Among other noteworthy floats were Dr. Pepper's "Neighborhood Drive-In", Montebello California's "Good Ol' Fashioned Friendship" float featuring The Flintstones and Bank of America's "It's a Small World." The CBS broadcast was co-hosted by Jamie Farr.
In the 1990 parade, Miss Piggy and Kermit were featured once more; this time as the Transamerica Life Company's entry "Lassoed by Love". The 55-foot-long float was festooned with roses, daisies, mums and orchids, and featured a 34-foot-tall Miss Piggy made of carnations and roses, swinging her lasso at a moss-covered Kermit on a hobby horse.
On January 1, 1996, Kermit the Frog was the Grand Marshal for the 107th Tournament of Roses Parade. He became the first non-human to host the event solo. The parade also featured a float based on Muppet Treasure Island.
With a theme of "Kids' Laughter & Dreams" chosen that year, Steve Whitmire performed Kermit as he drove through the parade in the Grand Marshal's car. At MuppetFest in 2001, Whitmire said that day was the most difficult job he'd had with the Muppets; as he had to keep his arm up over his head for almost three hours. At San Diego Comic-Con in 2015, he noted that Brian Henson gave him a plaque afterwards.
The Treasure Island float featured Kermit, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Statler and Waldorf, all in their Treasure Island personas. The float itself won the Humor Award for the most comical and amusing entry. The float itself was sponsored by Kodak.
Other Grand Marshalls have included Shirley Temple (1939), Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy (1940), Bob Hope (1947 & 1969), Richard M. Nixon (1953 & 1960), Walt Disney (1966), Charles M. Schulz (1974), Roy Rogers & Dale Evans (1977), Gerald R. Ford (1978), Frank Sinatra (1980) Danny Kaye (1984), Bob Newhart (1991), William Shatner (1994), Carol Burnett (1998), Buzz Aldrin (1999), Regis Philbin (2002), Bill Cosby (2003), Fred Rogers (2003), John Williams (2004), Mickey Mouse (2005), George Lucas (2007), Emeril Lagasse (2008), and Cloris Leachman (2009).
In 2004, the theme was "Music, Music, Music". NAMM, The Int'l Music Products Assoc. sponsored a Sesame Street float. The design was a toy school bus, with two pull toy wagons following it. Elmo playing a drum rode in the bus, while Big Bird (playing a trumpet), and Abelardo (from Plaza Sésamo) played the guitar in the second wagon. Riding on the float were many walk-around characters, including Zoe and Cookie Monster. Human cast members also appeared, including Bob and Gordon.
Big Bird was made of individual feathers cut from pampas grass and colored with yellow cut strawflower. Abelardo was decorated with golden Juniper tips, and Elmo featured red carnations, sweet rice and amaranthis seeds.
The 2005 theme was "Celebrate Family". Once again NAMM sponsored a float titled "Music Makes Us a Family", featuring the Sesame Street characters. Big Bird is playing a piano, while Elmo is playing the drums and Oscar the Grouch is playing the Maracas.
In 2008, the parade included a Sesame Street float sponsored by NAMM. It featured floral sculptures of Oscar shaking maracas, Elmo playing a drum, Big Bird, Count von Count standing with his arms wide open, Googly of Galli Galli Sim Sim playing the flute, Halum the Bengal Tiger from Sisimpur, and Lola, a pink monster from Plaza Sésamo.
The NAMM float with the Music For All organization in 2009 is to feature one large float with Big Bird as a bandleader and the Sesame Street lamp post, followed by smaller floats with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and Oscar the Grouch. Bob McGrath was on the float. A collection of 300 high school band members from across the country will play in the parade. The Music for All Honor Band, created for the event, played a melody of Sesame Street songs arranged by Michael Klesch and Thom Hannum.
- In the Elmo's World episode "Noses," Elmo appoints himself Grand Marshal of "The Tournament of Noses Parade".
- In Big Bird's Red Book, a float spoofing many of the the Queen's Floats from the parade is seen going down the street.
- In The Muppets episode "Because... Love", Uncle Deadly says Pepe the King Prawn's grand gesture looks like the Rose Parade.