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Rose Parade 2015: Thousands brave cold; float winners announced

Full list of winners »

Thousands of people braved an unusually cold morning Thursday to watch the 2015 Rose Parade in Pasadena.

Though the temperature in Pasadena did not break the 1952 record of 32 degrees, a winter storm that has blanketed the western United States still made it a cold one. The National Weather Service said it was 36 degrees.

"I'm with my boyfriend and his family, so they've been doing it for a couple of years. And, they're like, 'Oh, you should totally come out,' and I was like, 'Yeah, what a great idea!' And then I got here and I was like, 'What did I get myself into?' But, it was a lot of fun," said Karli Morgan of Northridge, who was attending for the first time.

The University of Southern California mascot, Tommy Trojan, wore a long coat over his Roman armor and gladiator sandals to keep warm, and Florida State University Seminoles dancers looked freezing in their tights and leotards, according to the Associated Press.

A group of attendees huddled together by a fire pit demonstrated how a sense of community could develop overnight. Colin O'Keefe said he spent the night alone but his $30 fire pit from Target and some wood to burn had attracted others. Donna Stamps, who joined him with her daughter, said someone brought donuts in exchange for letting them keep warm by the fire.

What's the allure of weathering the cold for a parade? 

"Fresh flowers, warm donuts, good friends," Stamps told KPCC.

The Tournament of Roses meanwhile released its list of awards for the best floats, with Dole winning for most beautiful and the City of Torrance winning for best embodiment of this year's theme.

The Torrance float won the Sweepstakes Award. The Dole float took home the Theme Award. Both were both built by Fiesta Parade Floats.

The parade's theme, "Inspiring Stories," was meant to highlight the life of Louis Zamperini, who was named Grand Marshall but passed away earlier this year.

Zamperini, who is the subject of the Angelina Jolie-helmed movie "Unbroken," was a USC and Olympic track star who survived 47 days at sea after his plane crashed in World War II and then endured two years as a prisoner of war.

"He really is the embodiment of inspiring stories, and there was no way we were going to change that," Richard Chinen, president of the 2015 Tournament of Roses, told AP.

Zamperini's son, daughter and other family members rode in a car in his place, according to AP.

The floats this year included one from Princess Cruises that featured the cast members of "The Love Boat."

It was also the first time the Sikh community entered a float. The centerpiece of the design was a replica of the Sikh temple, or gurdwara, in Stockton, Calif. built in 1912.

The Aids Healthcare Foundation had a float honoring the health care workers who have been fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa — including those who have died in the process.

And, of course, there were plenty of floats with a more whimsical theme. As AP reports, crowds roared as a giant pink hippopotamus float twitched its ears and belched blue and white balloons from its mouth.

The La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association, whose volunteers were forced to quit decorating for the night on Tuesday because of the weather but managed to complete the float the next morning, were also among the award winners. They won the Founders Award for the most beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers from a community.

You can see the full list of winners below.

Rose Parade winners

Awards Participant Theme Builder #
THEME: Excellence In Presenting Parade Theme City of Torrance Louis Zamperini - A Race Well Run Fiesta Parade Floats 15
TOURNAMENT VOLUNTEERS': Best Floral Design of Parade Theme For Floats Under 35' Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Rose Float Always Remember Phoenix Decorating 18
SWEEPSTAKES: Most Beautiful Entry in Parade With Outstanding Floral Presentation & Design Dole Packaged Foods Rhythm of Hawai'i Fiesta Parade Floats 24
PRINCESSES': Most Beautiful Float 35' And Under Lutheran Laymen's League The Bible... God's Story Phoenix Decorating 25
GRAND MARSHAL'S: Excellence In Creative Concept & Design Singpoli A Bright Future Paradiso Parade Floats 28
INTERNATIONAL: Most Beautiful Entry - Outside of 50 United States & D.C. China Airlines, Ltd. Inspiring Grace of Cloud Gate Artistic Entertainment Services 31
PRESIDENT'S: Most Effective Floral Use & Presentation American Armenian Rose Float Association Cradle of Civilization Phoenix Decorating 34
CRAFTSMAN: Exceptional Achievement In Showmanship & Dramatic Impact For Floats > 55' Only Princess Cruises 50 Years of Inspiring Travel Phoenix Decorating 36
NATIONAL: Best Depiction of Life In U.S.A. - Past, Present Or Future Downey Rose Float Association Home for the Holidays Self Built 40
ISABELLA COLEMAN: Best Presentation of Color & Color Harmony Through Floral Use Scotts Miracle-Gro Life Starts Here Fiesta Parade Floats 41
GOVERNOR'S: Best Depiction of Life In California City of Los Angeles What's Your L.A. Story? Phoenix Decorating 43
QUEEN'S: Most Effective Use And Display of Roses In Concept, Design & Presentation The Bachelor Inspiring Love Fiesta Parade Floats 45
EXTRAORDINAIRE: Most Spectacular Float (Including Floats That Do Not Retract To 55') Kiehl's Since 1851 Inspiring a Beautiful World Fiesta Parade Floats 50
BOB HOPE HUMOR: Most Comical & Amusing Entry Underground Service Alert of Southern California Do It Right... Call 811 Fiesta Parade Floats 54
JUDGES' SPECIAL: Most Spectacular In Showmanship & Dramatic Impact Kaiser Permanente Together We Thrive Fiesta Parade Floats 60
DIRECTORS': Outstanding Artistic Merit In Design & Floral Presentation Northwestern Mutual NCAA Inspiring Potential Fiesta Parade Floats 73
FANTASY: Most Outstanding Display of Fantasy & Imagination Western Asset Management Company The Power of Imagination Phoenix Decorating 77
TOURNAMENT SPECIAL: Exceptional Merit In Multiple Classifications (Incl. Floats That Do Not Retract To 55') Farmers Insurance Dream Big: World of Possibility Phoenix Decorating 80
MAYOR'S: Most Outstanding City Entry - National or International Sierra Madre Rose Float Association I Think I Can Self Built 81
ANIMATION: Best Animation & Motion Serving with a Smile Paradiso Parade Floats 83
CROWN CITY INNOVATION: Best Use of Imagination & Innovation To Advance The Art Of Float Design Trader Joe's Bedtime Stories Phoenix Decorating 85
PAST PRESIDENTS': Most Creative Design & Use of Both Floral & Non-Floral Materials Burbank Tournament of Roses Association Jungle Rescue Self Built 88
FOUNDERS': Most Beautiful Float Built & Decorated By Volunteers From A Community or Organization La Cañada Tournament of Roses Association To the Rescue Self Built 90
LATHROP K. LEISHMAN: Most Beautiful Non-Commercial Float Cal Poly Universities Soaring Stories Self Built 92

This story has been updated.