PASADENA, Calif. -- Even before dawn in southern California, the lights were on inside the Fiesta Float Barn east of Pasadena where floats are designed and built for the Rose Parade.
"They are an award winning company," said Jennifer Riley with Rain Bird. "They do a great job of helping us bring our vision to life."
That vision for Rain Bird involves endangered mountaintop gorillas from Rwanda, Africa.
"Each year we focus on an endangered species to draw attention to the need to use water and natural resources wisely," Riley said.
They started designing this float back in March, but the week before the parade -- called "decorator week" -- is when the magic happens.
The gorilla's silky coats are made using pharmitas grass, spanish moss and black lichen. A closer look at the intricate detail reveals pinecones, chipped coconut, cinnamon, seaweed, split peas and poppy seeds.
"We joke that you can make a good soup," Riley said.
Everything on a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade must be covered with organic material, even chairs on floats. On TV, viewers just can't get a true sense for the detail of the work -- or what goes into a completed float.
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In the big barn, crews are working 24 hours per day this week creating many of the beautiful floats that will make their way down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena in the Rose Parade.
"This is our 14th year participating in the Tournament of Roses parade," Riley said, "and as you can see behind me this is taking shape coming to life here."
The float barn is about 8 miles east of Pasadena in Irwindale. Riley said it's a show in itself getting these floats from the barn to the parade.
"This is a 55 foot long float," Riley said. "It's going to be creeping along the freeway. It takes a good six hours to get there. We call it the parade before the parade."