Participants put finishing touches on floats for the 34th Bakersfield Christmas Parade

Posted at 7:39 PM, Nov 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-30 22:39:57-05

We're only a day away from the 34th Annual Bakersfield Christmas Parade, and participants are putting the finishing touches on their floats.

"Every year we've gotten bigger, and we feel like this is the biggest yet," said Jim VanderZwan, adoptions director at Kern Bridges Youth Homes. "It's a pretty ambitious project."

Ambitious is a good word. The float, whose theme is "The Island of Misfit Toys", features a working roller coaster that will resemble Santa's sleigh on parade day.

"The coaster is a big hit," VanderZwan said.

Their float is one of close to 50 that will be featured at the parade this year; combine them with marching bands, decorated vehicles and others, and there are over 120 entries.

All the floats are decorated to the theme of "Christmas Stories", and they're all being built by an organization here in Kern County.

"We're a foster care and adoption agency here in town..." Jim said. "For us it's a lot of fun to see the reactions of kids that are out."

The Sikh Riders of America are entering a float too. 

"Oh we've been working on it for the last two weeks," said Gurinder Singh-Basra as he and his friends worked on their float.

"A lot of people put hard work to get their floats ready and they've been planning for a while," he said. "So the more community comes, the better support it shows."

Another group getting their float ready? New Advances for People with Disabilities, or NAPD.

"They're looking forward to it," said Jaime Valdez Jr., speaking about clients who were helping him put the float together. Valdez specifically helps with a group of NAPD that's focused on socializing for young adults.

"They're decorating and doing their thing. They get excited and they like helping out the community," Valdez said.

The parade kicks off Thursday at 6:30. For the parade route, click here. For the full lineup, click here.