December 3, 2015 – Fans of the beloved critically acclaimed drama Downton Abbey on MASTERPIECE on PBS will get a special treat on New Year’s Day when a new float celebrating the show debuts in the 127th Rose Parade® on January 1, 2016. The Crawley family estate has been painstakingly recreated for the float, complete with a magnificent landscape depicting English rose gardens and rolling green lawns and a 1919 Bentley driven by the family chauffeur. The float, themed “The Final Adventure” (a nod to the parade’s theme of “Find Your Adventure”), celebrates the much-anticipated Downton Abbey, The Final Season, a Carnival Films/MASTERPIECE co-production airing Sundays on PBS beginning January 3, 2016,at 9 p.m. ET.
The float will feature more than 60,000 roses in 20 different varieties, including velvety “Roseberry” and “Cherry O”; fragile pink “Titanic” and “Priceless”; and English garden roses, rarely seen on Rose Parade floats. Oriental lilies, snapdragons, hypericum and a variety of orchids will provide accents throughout the garden.
A custom-made elevator lift was created for Downton Abbey’s central tower. This lift allows the tower to drop straight down into the center of the castle so that it can pass under power lines and bridges. The float is 18′ wide by 24′ high and weighs approximately 15 tons. The float was designed by Charles Meier from Paradiso Parade Floats, took approximately 2,000 hours to construct and will take about 6,000 hours to decorate.
“Paradiso is honored and delighted to collaborate with PBS on their Tournament of Roses float debut,” said Charles Meier, Creative Director, Paradiso Parade Floats. “I was hooked on Downton Abbey from the first episode and have been a devoted fan ever since. When I learned that PBS planned to enter a float, I knew that we had to be a part of it. The float is going to be a very elegant entry and is the perfect way to usher in the show’s final season.”