It's crunch time for the hundreds of volunteers working on Burbank's 82nd entry into the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade that will roll down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena on New Year's Day.
About 180 volunteers were in the Burbank Water & Power auxiliary warehouse on Thursday, according to officials with the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., and hundreds more showed up on Friday as the clock ticked toward the big unveiling.
PHOTOS: Burbank Tournament of Roses builds movie-themed float
That number is expected to swell each day until the parade, officials said.
The float, titled "Lights… Camera… Action!," features of a 22-foot-tall villain conducting a train with a real whistle. The locomotive is headed toward a damsel who is tied to the tracks and a hero, riding a stallion, is coming to the maiden's rescue.
Steven Edward, a computer systems manager for Warner Bros. in Burbank, was in the belly of the float Friday testing out the real brass whistle system designed to add real effect to the float's large locomotive.
"This whistle will be a blast, literally," he said.
The whole animated scene will be captured by a live director and cameraman, played by legendary writer, director, actor and producer Garry Marshall and his son, Scott, who will be behind the floral-decorated camera.
The float — which is 46.5 feet long, 18 feet wide and 22 feet tall — is powered by two Chevy V-8 engines. It will be accompanied by a musical score written exclusively for the famous two-hour, 5-mile parade, and it was designed by Bill and Carol Cotter of Granada Hills and Stacia Martin of Brea.
Edward said that, although a lion's share of the physical work occurs in the days leading up to New Year's Day, the project is a yearlong process.
The 49-year-old vice president of floats for the local organization will get to ride with three others inside the creation and will be in charge of animation, music and sound effects. .
For volunteer Robin Hanna, a lifelong Burbank resident, this will be the 28th Burbank float she's helped build. Not only does it give her a great sense of accomplishment, it bolsters pride in the entire city, she said.
"I think no one person can create something like this. It comes alive this week with all the textures," Hanna, 72, said. "And each day when you come in, there's a little more life. By the time it pulls out, it's just this gorgeous thing. It gives us a lot of satisfaction to watch it from the very beginning when it was on paper to fruition."
Edward said if Burbank had to pay a private float-builder to construct this type of magic, it could cost upward of $250,000.
He said people will have a chance to get an up-close look at the creation immediately after the parade, which kicks off at 8 a.m. on New Year's Day.
After that, it will be on display along Washington Boulevard in Sierra Madre later on New Year's Day and Thursday, then make its way back to Burbank for a showing from Friday through Jan. 6 at the corner of Olive Avenue and Glenoaks Boulevard.
Donations to the nonprofit can be made year-round by sending checks to the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., P.O. Box 373, Burbank CA 91503 or visit the organization's website at www.BurbankRoseFloat.com.
Follow Tim Traeger on Twitter: @TraegerTim.