A New Rose Float Lab


Cal Poly Pomona has reached its initial fundraising goal for the new Rose Float Lab and Design Complex and plans to break ground at the end of 2018. The university is expected to open the new lab in 2020, providing future Rose Float students a space to build beautiful, creative and innovative floats.

The new $3.7 million Rose Float Lab and Design Complex will provide about 14,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor work space, including a fully enclosed float construction bay, design workspace, storage facilities and a courtyard to host large numbers of volunteers. 




For seven decades, students from Cal Poly Pomona have designed, built and decorated fabulous floats for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, now televised in multiple languages to millions of viewers around the world.

The journey began in 1949, when student Don Miller spearheaded the construction of the first float in 90 days. Today, this unique, learn-by-doing program is one of the finest examples of our polytechnic mission, one that highlights the creativity, versatility and the skills of our students.


Partnering with students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the Rose Float teams create fantastic floats, beginning with a unique design concept and carried through construction and decoration with thousands of flowers. Throughout the process, hundreds of students have the opportunity to advance their team-building and problem-solving skills, learn floral design or computer-controlled animation, while others acquire skills in engineering, welding, engine maintenance, marketing, hydraulics and much, much more.


Competing against professional float designers, the university Rose Float team has won 59 awards over the years, including 10 Founder’s Trophies for the most beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers, and eight Princess Trophies.

Cal Poly’s Rose Float program has been a leader in float innovation, being the first to use hydraulics to power innovation (1968), the first to use computer-controlled animation (1978) and the first to use fiber optics (1988).