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Photos: In a vibrant display of color, Floatfest wows thousands as 2023 Rose Parade season concludes

Volunteer Joe Chaides shows a flower made of sliced almonds at the City of Burbank during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Eyad Jarjour takes a photo of the City of Downey float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Torrance float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Sweepstakes winning float Donate Life during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors the Mansion Entertainment Group float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Downey float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Hope float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Downey float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the floats that took part in the Rose Parade during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Downey float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Hope float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of La Canada Flintridge float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Torrance float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of La Canada Flintridge float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Torrance float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of South Pasadena float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Hope float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Torrance float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Alhambra float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Wrigley Legacy winning float from Trader Joe’s during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Judges winning float from Western Asset during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Wrigley Legacy winning float from Trader Joe’s during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Showmanship winning float Louisiana travel during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Fantasy winning float from Blue Diamond Growers during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Alhambra float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors the Mansion Entertainment Group float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Princess Award winning float from Roary international during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Cal Poly Universities float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Sweepstakes winning float Donate Life during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Sweepstakes winning float Donate Life during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Queen Award float from the City of Burbank during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

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Parade-goers and tourists from around the globe descended upon Pasadena Tuesday, Jan. 3, for a final peek at the larger-than-life floats that played starring roles in the 2023 Rose Parade.

Floatfest – a 2-mile, two-day showcase of floats fresh off their world-famous appearance in the Rose Parade – traditionally marks an unofficial conclusion to the Tournament of Roses’ yearlong parade season.

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Sweepstakes winning float Donate Life during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Nearly 70,000 people attend Floatfest every year. This year, attendees were accompanied by towering dragons, stirring wildlife scenes and tributes seen in motion on Colorado Boulevard and on TV less than 24 hours before.

Some longtime visitors argue the festival is better than parade day because, up close, with floats not in motion, is the only way one can appreciate the fine craftsmanship that goes into constructing the custom-made floats every year.

Rose Parade princesses, from left, Adrian Crick, Michelle Cortez-Peralta, Uma Wittenberg and Zoë Denoncourt pick flowers from where they were sitting on their float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

The 2023 Tournament of Roses Royal Court float featured 5,000 flowers, including white and pink mums, pink roses, white and pink carnations and raised roses.

The items are easily found in everyday life, but on Tuesday, even princesses from the Royal Court found it hard to resist grabbing a keepsake from the memorable float, which is surprisingly allowed, since the natural materials have finished their 5.5-mile procession down Colorado Boulevard.

“I want to remember the special day,” said Rose Queen Bella Ballard, who was spotted with a couple of souvenir flowers in-hand early in the morning on Tuesday.

2023 Rose Queen Bella Ballard takes a selfie on the Rose Court float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

“It was an exciting day filled with a lot of great emotions,” she said, standing in front of a float adorned in red kidney beans, black onion seed, red fine-cut strawflower, pampas grass, fine ground rice and purple fine-cut statice.

Pointing out the fine lines of apples and potatoes that were precisely placed all around city of Burbank float — which won the The Queen Award for most outstanding presentation of roses — Todd Estes marveled at the creations nearby.

“I’m just amazed at the detail that these float volunteers and all of the materials,” Estes said, highlighting the almonds and 14,000 blue and white irises that were used to craft a scene resembling rushing water.

“The color scheme, the materials they use and the amount of detail,” Estes added, “is incredible. The artistry and the expertise, I’m just blown away by it.”

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Downey float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Downey float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Rose Parade Showmanship winning float Louisiana travel during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of Hope float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the Honda during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Visitors get an up-close look at the City of La Canada Flintridge float during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

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He wasn’t alone as the shining sun illuminated the steel framing, seeds — and, of course, the trademark florals — that comprised the components of this year’s award-winning creations.

Fellow Floatfest attendee Lisa Vernaldo couldn’t help but snap a picture next to the “There’s No Place Like Home” float during Floatfest at Victory Park.

“It’s different if it’s on TV,” Vernaldo said, “because you can feel and you can see how fresh the flowers are.”

With the sun setting and visitors heading home, volunteers and float builders readied to slice up metal frames and pluck thousands of recyclable floral vials for next year’s blooms. It’s an important step, considering the work to plan next year’s parade is already underway.

Volunteer Joe Chaides, right, shows Carol House, left, and Evelia Quintero a flower made of sliced almonds at the City of Burbank during Floatfest at Victory Park in Pasadena on Tuesday January 3, 2023. (Photo by Keith Durflinger, Contributing Photographer)

Related links

Rose Court juggles intense schedule with help from Pasadena mental health partnership
Photos: Check out our 50 top images from Rose Parade 2023
Best of Rose Parade 2023: Floats and marching bands that got attention
Last year’s Rose Court finds joy in being spectators
The Rose Parade: Pasadena Star-News

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