The Tournament of Roses has approved Glendale’s new name for its Rose Parade float, which was changed recently in an attempt to appease critics of the controversial elephant design.
Come January, Glendale’s float featuring a circus elephant towing a chariot will roll through Pasadena with the name “Just Imagine the Music, Fun and Freedom,” which replaced its original tag, “Stepping out in Style.”
For months, Glendale officials took the heat for the float design and name, which animal activists said glamorized the abuse of circus elephants.
After a summer protest by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and dozens of angry emails from the public, the City Council agreed to solicit new names to tamp tensions.
City leaders said it was too late to change the float design since construction was almost complete by the time it came up for council approval. The design had already been approved by a lower-level committee and a community group.
The city received about 25 suggestions. Names such as “Step Away from Animal Abuse” and “Wishing for my Natural Life” didn’t make the cut.
Rick Phegley, chairman of the parade’s Float Entries Committee, said float sponsors often change their names prior to the parade, noting that of the 43 floats in this year’s parade, about one quarter have had tweaks.
He said he thought Glendale’s new label was a good fit.
“I think it’s a name that fits both the design of the float and the message the float sponsor is trying to get across,” Phegley said.
PETA spokesman David Perle has said the animal rights group is still unhappy with the float and name choice.