Photo by: Darryl Bender, 

Jelly Belly Candy Co., the maker of President Ronald Reagan’s favorite candy, celebrated the 100th birthday of America’s 40th president by sponsoring the first-ever presidential-themed float in the 122nd Annual Rose Parade.

Tomi Holt, Jelly Belly’s spokeswoman, called the event phenomenal, noting that people along the parade route stood up and cheered as the float passed by.

“It was a very emotional response,” said Holt “People were so positive and so thrilled to see it.” 

The 55-ft. long and 26-ft. high float featured: Eleven black-and-white photos of historic moments in Reagan’s life made out of millions of tiny poppy seeds and rice; a statue of President Reagan; a sculpture of a bald eagle; more than 65,000 red roses, which President Reagan had declared America’s national flower.

President Reagan’s affinity for jelly beans began in 1966 during his two terms as Governor of California, when he passed jelly beans around at official meetings. 

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by whether he picks out all of one color or just grabs a handful,” President Reagan once said. 

The Jelly Belly jelly bean aficionado, whose favorite flavor included Licorice Jelly Belly beans, brought his beloved treat to the White House where President Reagan had special Oval Office Jelly Belly jelly bean jars commissioned for visitors. 

“During happy or tense moments in the Reagan White House, a jar of jelly beans was never out of reach,” said Herman Rowland, chairman of Jelly Belly Candy Co. 

Visitors can view a jar of Jelly Belly beans aboard Air Force One at the Reagan Library. They also can purchase an exclusive Oval Office jar or commemorative Jelly Belly Gift Box, which includes posters of President Reagan’s quotes and highlights of his presidency, by visiting and entering “jelly beans” into the search box.

For more information, visit