The First Hundred Miles icons to be celebrated on Rose Parade float with Straight No Chaser

Enjoy Illinois will spotlight the state’s music history along Route 66

Photo provided by Enjoy Illinois

Enjoy Illinois will return for its second float appearance at the 135th Rose Parade® presented by Honda on Monday, Jan. 1, in Pasadena, California, as a part of America’s New Year Celebration®. This year’s impeccably themed float will celebrate Route 66′s storied musical heritage – and even will feature some familiar sights found along The First Hundred Miles.

To reflect the Rose Parade’s theme, “Celebrating a World of Music,” Enjoy Illinois will spotlight the state’s music history along the Mother Road with its float called Illinois: The Middle of Beats & Blues, a nod to the state’s award-winning tourism campaign: “Middle of Everything.”

Photo provided by Straight No Chaser

Parade spectators will experience a captivating live musical performance by the hit a cappella group Straight No Chaser delivering a medley from an iconic movie filmed in Illinois, “The Blues Brothers.” The float will feature a replica of a drive-in movie scene, highlighting “Joliet’' Jake Blues and his brother, Elwood, along with a classic 1950s car and a number of familiar attractions.

“We are thrilled to showcase Illinois at the 2024 Rose Parade for the second year in a row, and celebrate the state’s rich music history along Route 66 with our Illinois: The Middle of Beats & Blues float,” said Daniel Thomas, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism. “From the Route 66 starting point in Chicago to Springfield and Collinsville and all the historic small towns in between, the Mother Road serves as the crossroads of cultural expression, offering unique attractions and adventures you can only experience in Illinois.”

Photo provided by Heritage Corridor Destinations

The Enjoy Illinois float recreates the iconic Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, starting with Chicago’s Route 66 “Begin” sign. The journey through the float reveals larger-than-life replicas of the Pink Elephant in Livingston, and the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville and The First Hundred Miles’ iconic Gemini Giant spaceman, located in Wilmington – just a few of the quirky roadside attractions along Illinois’ stretch of Route 66. At the front of the float, you’ll spot recreations of iconic Springfield landmarks like Shea’s Gas Station and the new Route 66 Legends Neon Sign Park Experience, just a small selection of the Route 66 landmarks located around the state’s capital.

The 24-foot-tall float took three months to build with the help of nearly 22,000 volunteer hours, and will feature over 30,000 flowers. The Enjoy Illinois float will incorporate many elements to spotlight Illinois’ agritourism industry, including pumpkins, corn, soybeans, lavender, sunflowers, prairie grass and common blue violets, the state’s official flower.

Photo provided by Heritage Corridor Destinations

“The Tournament of Roses is thrilled to see Straight No Chaser’s performance on the Enjoy Illinois float during the 2024 Rose Parade, marking the second consecutive year of Enjoy Illinois’ participation,” said 2024 Tournament of Roses President Alex Aghajanian. “Straight No Chaser’s a cappella brilliance will grace the float harmonizing with the theme ‘Celebrating a World of Music,’ to showcase Illinois’ rich musical heritage. The group’s unforgettable musical experience will be an incredible addition to the festivities, and bring us all together to celebrate the vibrant spirit of Illinois.”

“We are so proud and beyond excited to be performing on the Enjoy Illinois float in the 2024 Rose Parade,” said Straight No Chaser member Randy Stine, who was born and raised in Illinois. “Like so many people around the country, we grew up watching the parade every New Year’s Day. What a dream come true it is to be a part of such an iconic event.”

Initially formed at Indiana University, a cappella group Straight No Chaser emerged at the forefront of the modern-day a cappella movement, and has since sold more than three million albums worldwide, garnered over a billion streams on Pandora alone, and sold more than 1.5 million concert tickets worldwide. In fall 2022, the group performed in more than 60 cities across the U.S. with multiple sold-out shows. The group is currently on their “Sleighin’ It Tour,” a three-month-long U.S. trek. Last month, the group released “Stocking Stuffer,” their latest EP of holiday originals and favorites.

To learn more about planning a getaway in Illinois, visit and follow @EnjoyIllinois on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.