Final preps underway for Fiesta Bowl Parade

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX --  Final preparations are underway for Saturday's Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade.

Each year, for the past 43 years, Valley residents and visitors line the 2-mile parade route in Central Phoenix to watch the parade, which has become a holiday tradition for many.

On Friday's Good Morning Arizona, 3TV's Ryan O'Donnell got a sneak peek at some of this year's floats.

"People are going to see bands, incredible floats," says Fiesta Bowl Committee member Jay Spector. "It's just a wonderful community, wonderful family event for everybody."

The floats are intricate and full of details. And each one tells a story, like this year's sponsor float from the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

"The Fort asked us to come up with something that embraced the animals that they have out there on the reservation," says float designer J.D. Winters. "So we picked a handful of animals. And they wanted to do kind of a storybook idea this year, so we went real 'cartooney'. These are all carved out of Styrofoam."

The crews started on that float three months ago. And workers know that making it all come together is no easy task.

"They've been working on these floats for weeks," says Spector. "This doesn't just happen overnight. It's thousands and thousands of man hours to get this together."

Judges make the final decisions on float winners, but even kids get a hand in the process, as "half-pint" judges weigh in on the colors, themes, and decorations.

Although the floats are a big draw, another crowd favorite is the wide variety of marching bands in the parade.

"We have the college marching bands that are coming," says Spector. "It's just a fantastic display of music and pageantry."

The Yarnell Hill Firefighter's families will lead the Parade through central Phoenix as this year's Grand Marshals. This event will also showcase the participants and winners of various Fiesta Bowl events, including participants in the Fiesta Bowl Band Championship, winners of the Fiesta Bowl Twirl-Pom-Cheer & Flag Championship and the Fiesta Bowl Queen & Court.

The parade begins at 11:00 a.m. Admission is free, but bleacher seating is $25

The parade route is about 2 miles long, running along Central Avenue from just north of Montebello Avenue to Camelback Road. At Camelback Road, the route hangs a left and then goes to Seventh Street, where it turns right and continues south to Campbell Avenue.

The Fiesta Bowl Game itself takes place Jan. 1, as Baylor takes on Central Florida.

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