Rose Parade floats get finishing touches

PASADENA, Calif. The transformation is under way as thousands of volunteers begin the painstaking process of bringing the famous Rose Parade floats to life.

"They get to see the parade up close and personal," said Stefan Pollack, Fiesta Parade Floats. "They have the pride of authorship, so to speak, as they watch the float go down the parade route."

This year there's everything from trains to robots, Hollywood movie characters to an African safari. Forty-six colorful floats will be rolling down the streets of Pasadena for the world to see.

"Our float is called 'Stars of Life' because people who have been touched by organ and tissue donation, in our, eyes are stars of life," said Bryan Stewart, Donate Life Floats.

This year's theme. "Hats Off to Entertainment," has the float fanatics pulling out all the stops, each entry vying for the top title.

"We are hopeful that we will win the sweepstakes trophy again," said Jennifer Riley-Chetwynd, Rain Bird Floats. "We've won it seven years of our 13 years participating, and we've been fortunate enough to win 11 awards during those 13 years."

"Our tallest big thing is American Honda's Yasimo Robot, who's 49 feet tall, and he will be the lead float in the parade," said Larry Palmer, Phoenix Decorating Company.

He'll kick off the parade on January 1, 2009, with an explosive surprise from his top hat. But until then, there is lots of work to be done to finish these fabulous floral creations.

"I always thought it was like whole flowers and just gluing it on, but no, the cutting process is tedious," said volunteer Uche Mordi. "It's nice because you can watch it on TV and be like, 'I did that float!' "

The parade has first this time around: Viewers will be able to pick their favorite float, so this time around it's not just the judges who get a say about all these floats.

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