It's a windy day at the Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa, where Tony Bassignani and Bruce Tinkham are arguing about the placement of Snoopy's yellow aviator scarf.
Tinkham, 75, and Bassignani, 70, are in the middle of building the museum's float, one of 20 featured in the 119th annual Luther Burbank Rose Parade on Saturday.
This year's theme is “Surf 'n' Safari” and the museum's spin on the theme has airmail pilot Snoopy surfing the clouds with his signature red doghouse affixed to a sky blue surfboard.
“We were supposed to get a real surfboard, but we ended up making one out of plywood,” said Bassignani, who has been on the museum's parade float team for three years.
Snoopy, a Peanuts character created by the late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, was often featured in the comic strip as his alter ego, a World War I flying ace.
“We were looking for something that would give a lot of color and fun for our entrants to decorate and prepare for,” said Judy Groverman Walker, who has coordinated the event since 2000. “We figured it'd be nice that they could choose either the safari or a beach.”
The parade, which has 4,000 participants, is expected to attract 30,000 people along the route. The air museum is hoping to follow up on its first-place win in the historical float category last year.
“We have a lot of interesting floats this year,” said Groverman Walker. “Lucky Supermarkets will have a giant electric shopping cart, and the Keystone Cops will have a sort of old-fashioned paddy wagon.”
The museum spent three months rebuilding a trailer donated for the event. For the last two weeks, a team built Snoopy's doghouse and made more than 2,000 coffee filter “flowers.”
“We just got one of those giant coffee filter packs from Costco,” said Tinkham, as he stapled the float's “clouds” to the trailer.