Cal Poly Rose Float Launches Concept Contest for 2021 Float; Deadline is Feb. 6

Winning concept will form the basis for Cal Poly universities’ 73rd float entry in the annual New Year’s Day parade

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly Rose Float is accepting submissions for its Rose Float Concept Contest, which will help shape the entry in next year’s Rose Parade®. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6.

The 2021 float, like every other since 1949, will be designed and built by teams of students from Cal Poly and California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, to celebrate the 2021 parade theme. The universities’ float is one of only six self-built entries and the only one constructed by students.

Celebrating education’s ability to open doors, open minds and change lives, the theme of the 132nd Rose Parade is “Dream. Believe. Achieve.”

“Education paves the path to success with a world of opportunities achieved through knowledge, compassion and determination. Education is the great equalizer,” said Robert B. Miller, president of the 2021 Tournament of Roses. “As a community college educator, I have seen firsthand the life-changing miracle that education provides. As students visualize their future, education becomes the bridge to accomplish their aspirations and transform lives for generations to come.” 

The float design for the 2020 entry, “Aquatic Aspirations,” was selected from more than 100 ideas submitted last spring by students, local communities, alumni and friends of the Cal Poly Rose Float program.

Organizers encourage people who love to sketch, tell stories or draw fanciful images to enter. The winner will receive two Rose Bowl tickets or $500 — and the opportunity to see your design roll down Colorado Boulevard in front of 700,000 parade goers and more than 70 million worldwide who watch the event on TV.

Conceptual entries should be a black-and-white sketch, no larger than 11 by 17 inches, that illustrates or describes an idea rather than a finished design. Animation ideas are welcome.

Submissions should include the contestant’s name, phone number and email address on the back of the entry. Digital copies should be emailed, with the subject line “2021 Concept.” Hand-drawn designs should be delivered to Cal Poly Rose Float, 1 Grand Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 no later than Tuesday, Feb. 4.

There is no limit on the number of entries per person.

Cal Poly universities’ Rose Floats are known for colorful characters, animation and beauty. Once a design is finalized, students from both campuses collaborate to build the float — including the chassis, animation mechanisms, superstructure, and elements. 

The universities’ floats are frequent award winners in the annual parade. Recent awards include the 2020 Director’s Award for the most outstanding artistic design and use of floral and non-floral materials, as well as the 2019 Extraordinaire Award, with aliens and astronauts celebrating music as a language for all.

For more details on the Concept Contest, visit the Rose Float Facebook page or the Rose Float website.

B-roll of the Cal Poly universities Rose Float teams concept meeting in spring of 2019:

Contact: Josh D’Acquisto
(805) 756-1182;

January 28, 2020

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