Quick—what's 37 feet tall, 55 feet long, and uses a hydraulic system to carry 110,000 flowers along a 5.5-mile route? The answer is a parade float commissioned by retail shipping chain The UPS Store for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade. The annual parade, which winds along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., is held each year prior to the Rose Bowl college football game (which this year featured a matchup between the Washington Huskies and Ohio State Buckeyes).
The float, titled "Books Keep Us on Our Toes," is a salute to the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, which was jointly developed by The UPS Store and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to promote children's literacy. The program, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, provides books and educational resources to underserved communities.
This year's float featured Olive the Ostrich, an aspiring ballerina with dreams to star in "Swan Lake." Realizing that her species might not be the traditional choice for the role, Olive—constructed of 30,000 pale pink Mizuky carnations and 40,000 white dendrobium orchids—prepares by reading books on ballet while listening to Tchaikovsky's famous music on an old-fashioned gramophone.
Spectators were invited to view the float up close following the parade. The UPS Store team handed out 10,000 children's books, many of which were donated by Scholastic, to parade-goers and post-event attendees.