SAN FRANCISCO - As we enter the year of the rabbit, a crew of artists are hard at work making sure the parade is a dizzying display for the eyes. KTVU can now take everyone behind the scenes at the final preparations for the Lunar New Year festival and parade.
Behind a set of unassuming roll-up doors on a San Francisco pier, a team of artists work hard to create magic.
One by one, the floats are assembled, truckloads of lumber, hundreds of yards of lights, and as much as a quarter ton of glitter; all to ring in the year of the rabbit.
The rabbit is the fourth animal in the animal Chinese zodiac, and is known to be the luckiest of the twelve animals. Stephanie Mufson from parade guys says parade watchers will see bunnies everywhere this year. "Yeah, the rabbit's super cute, so that's been really fun," said Stephanie Mufson from the Parade Guys. "Also, there's a lot of different interpretations of the rabbit. Some of them have really embraced the cute, some of it's more about really leaping with some authority and some strength."
Work on the floats started months ago, and in the final days before the parade the pace of the work here reaches a fever pitch.
The artists here like Thuy Nguyen say they've created a community, working hard side by side, learning from each other and creating something truly special, often working long hours. "Everyone's so passionate about being here that it just feels, at times it doesn't feel like work even though I come home exhausted," said Nguyen. "It's like, it was a good days work."
SFCAUSE, San Francisco Community Alliance for Unity Safety and Education, commissioned this float. They say the float is designed to be a visual symbol of the many ways we all came to this country, and now share in its dream, our different cultures coming together as we step into the future. "When you look at our float, it tells a story," said Christine Linnenbach from SFCAUSE.
"Whether you walked to America, whether you sailed to America, whether you flew to America; we all have so many things in common."
As the work nears its end, those here will work up until the last moment, perfecting each float; pausing only at the end to take in all their hard work. "My favorite part of the whole process is that two hours before the parade, when we're done, we've done everything we can do and then we get to sit back and watch people flood in, they see the floats they get excited," said Mufson. "That's the best moment for me."
In terms of the zodiac the year of the tiger was focused on action; the year of the rabbit is one of reflection and introspection. The hope is the rabbit will usher in peace for the new year.