Illinois promotes tourism at Rose Parade

The Illinois Office of Tourism will promote the state with its first float appearance at the 134th Rose Parade on Monday, Jan. 2, in Pasadena, California.

The Enjoy Illinois float brings the state's award-winning tourism campaign, "Illinois. The Middle of Everything," to life by showcasing the state's attractions and unique destinations.

The 24-foot-tall float took four months to build, features nearly 30,000 flowers, and took nearly 22,000 volunteer hours to create, according to the state tourism office.

The Enjoy Illinois float will also feature a live musical performance from "American Idol" finalist and Illinois native Grace Kinstler, who will perform her original song "Leo."

On one end, the float features a replica of the bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln from Lincoln's Tomb, a historic Route 66 sign and a recreation of the iconic Centennial Wheel at Chicago's Navy Pier. The opposite end showcases the Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois' Shawnee National Forest, including a real waterfall with flowing water and towering trees sporting fall colors.

"I'm honored to represent my home state and get the chance of a lifetime to perform at the iconic Rose Parade," Kinstler said in a news release. "This is a great opportunity to kick off the new year in a way that makes me feel like I'm back in sweet home Chicago."

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