Frequently asked questions about the float and its relationship to the I.O.O.F.

Q: What are the benefits of the float to the Order?

A: The float delivers an annual, highly cost-effective, positive public relations and promotional message to an audience of about 700,000 local and at least 70 million worldwide via television. Some estimates of the international audience exceed 300 million.

Decorating the float brings together members of ALL branches of the Order from ALL across the country to work on a common project. This is partcularly beneficial to our youth from the Theta Rho and Junior Odd Fellows who provide much of the manpower.

Decorating the float is one of very few activities in which our youth work side-by-side for 5 days with the members and officers of the Encampnent, LEA, PM, LAPM, the GL, and the SGL.


Q: Are we alone?

Q: Are any grand bodies, such as the SGL, in any way financially responsible for, or at risk from the float?

A: The SGL has never been responsible for the float. By incorporating the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Rose Float Organization as a stand-alone non-profit, we have absolved the SGL, all jurisdictional Grand Lodges, and all individual lodges of any and all potential risk or financial responsibility for the float, both currently and into the future.

Q: Does the SGL of the IOOF own the name Odd Fellows?

The names Odd Fellows, Oddfellows, Rebekahs and similar have been used by various entities for hundreds of years and thus are difficult to trademark or copyright. In 2014 our SGL finally got around to trademarking the three links with the letters FLT within the links for the IOOF. There are many other business entities that use the Oddfellow name. Here are just a few:

  • Oddfellows Restaurant in Dallas
  • Oddfellows Cafe in Seattle
  • Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown, CT
  • Oddfellows Rest, a bar in Hoboken, NJ
  • Oddfellows Antiques in Asheville, NC
  • Odd Fellows at the Waverly, a bar in Woodstock, IL
  • Oddfellows Burger Kitchen in Ames, IA
  • Oddfellows Antiques in Berkley, MI
  • and so on...
  • Q: How is the float funded?

    A: The float now survives entirely on voluntary donations from members of the Order, from individual lodges around the world, from some grand lodges, from the public, maybe corporate sponsors some day, and any funds we can generate from the sales of float related memorabilia such as shirts and pins. By incorporating as an independent non-profit charity we have protected the entire Order and we can accept tax deductible donations from many sources to help pay for the float. Our financial responsibilities are presently just for the 2015 float and the operation of the corporation.

    Q: Why should there be an Odd Fellows & Rebekahs float in the parade?

    A: Very simple, the benefits to the Order are great, and now that the float is independently incorporated, there are no risks to the Order.

    Q: Is the float a cost-effective public relations and promotional vehicle?

    A: Yes! and spectacularly so. In terms of TV viewership, the rose parade is an event nearly on a par with football's Super Bowl. We achieve publicity comparable to advertising during the Super Bowl at 1/100th the cost (per viewer per second). Here are the numbers:

    Television summary:


    P.T. Barnum (1810-1891) was an Odd Fellow. He is considered by many as the world's most famous marketing genius.

    A friend asked him one day - "What inducement had you for becoming an Odd Fellow! Certainly you never expect to need their assistance?"

    "No," was the reply. "but they need mine, and I want no greater pleasure than that which a man feels when he is bestowing his charity where he knows it is needed and deserved; and in these days of humbug it is quite a blessing to be able to expend money for charity, and to know that the recipients of your bounty are not a set of swindlers, who live by begging in the name of some charitable institution with a fine title."

    Mr. Barnum can still be of assistance to the Order.

    P.T. Barnum wrote:

    Advertise your business. Do not hide your light under a bushel. Whatever your occupation or calling may be, if it needs support from the public, advertise it thoroughly and efficiently, in some shape or other, that will arrest public attention. I freely confess that what success I have had in my life may fairly be attributed more to the public press than to nearly all other causes combined. There may possibly be occupations that do not require advertising, but I cannot well conceive what they are.

    Men in business will sometimes tell you that they have tried advertising, and that it did not pay. This is only when advertising is done sparingly and grudgingly. Homeopathic doses of advertising will not pay perhaps - it is like half a potion of physic, making the patient sick, but effecting nothing. Administer liberally, and the cure will be sure and permanent.

    Some say, "they cannot afford to advertise;" they mistake - they cannot afford not to advertise. In this country, where everybody reads the newspapers, the man must have a thick skull who does not see that these are the cheapest and best medium through which he can speak to the public, where he is to find his customers. Put on the appearance of business, and generally the reality will follow. The farmer plants his seed, and while he is sleeping, his corn and potatoes are growing. So with advertising. While you are sleeping, or eating, or conversing with one set of customers, your advertisement is being read by hundreds and thousands of persons who never saw you, nor heard of your business, and never would, had it not been for your advertisement appearing in the newspapers.

    Television is the modern equivalent of newspapers in Barnum's day. We, as an Order, cannot afford NOT to advertise. If we fail to regularly remind the world of our existence and what we represent, then, surely, we will be relegated to insignificance, if not the dustbin of history.