Inside the Studio
Photograph By Chris Mueller for ESPN The Magazine
With just 30 year-round employees, Fiesta starts its construction on the floats in shifts: first in April, again in July, then in October. Preliminary construction includes welding, woodworking and preparing the hydraulics for the floats' moving parts. "Depending on the complexity of the float," says Fiesta president Tim Estes, "it could take about 2,000 hours in terms of construction and 5,000 to 7,000 hours to decorate."