Two Chinese floats were previewed by judges from Pasadena Tournament of Roses Thursday before making their debut on New Year's Day at rose parade in Pasadena, California, the biggest New Year celebration on America's west coast.
The preview was highlighted by the appearances of Jackie Chan, one of the most popular film personalities in the world who has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Yao Ming, one of the most popular basketball players who plays for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association.
Jackie Chan and Yao Ming came to Los Angeles to promote the Shanghai 2010 World Expo float, which the first float is ever made to appear at the Pasadena Rose Parade in the history of the World Expo.
Yao Ming, who is still on walking sticks, told reporters besides the float that he is not sure whether he could stand on the World Expo float on the New Year's Day because of his injury, but he was excited to be here to promote the Shanghai World Expo float and hoped that the Shanghai World Expo float would attract more Americans to the expo.
Jackie Chan seemed very active during the preview. He actually played the role as a director to direct performers at the float to draw more attention of the judges to their float.
He said he hoped that the American people would like the World Expo float and the Chinese culture. He also wished that the world would be more peaceful and harmonious in the New Year.
While the judges were previewing the float, 135 performers, most of them children, performed Chinese dances. Several groups of children were on roller skates carrying banners of the Shanghai World Expo.
The float, sponsored by the local Chinese community in Southern California, features the theme of the Expo, Chinese traditions and hallmarks of a modern Shanghai.
It displays the logo and mascot of the Expo, lots of red color, treasured by Chinese because of its symbolic value, and modern landmark buildings in Shanghai.
The 16.8-meter-long, 5.5-meter-wide and 13.7-meter-high float has been built with 350,000 dollars donated by the local Chinese community. It is festooned with over 100,000 fresh flowers.
The 121st Pasadena Rose Parade, with its theme of "A Cut above the Rest," is expected to draw more than one million visitors to Pasadena with its exquisite formations and entertaining displays. Live TV coverage of the parade will make it possible for people in more than 40 countries to watch the event.
English letters of the theme of the Shanghai Expo of "Better City, Better Life" have been placed at the front of the float to promote the expo.
Zhang Yun, Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles, told Xinhua that he was surprised to see the float which is so beautiful, so attractive.
He said he is confident that the float will help Americans better understand the Shanghai Expo and the City of Shanghai. It will also help the American people to better understand the Chinese culture.
Zhang said the performances by the Chinese children are also excellent which will show the rich and colorful culture of China .
The Shanghai World Expo will be held from May through October in 2010, with a total of more than 70 million people, half of them foreigners, expected to attend.
Zhang said the float will definitely attract more Americans to the expo.
Besides the Shanghai World Expo float, there is another float from China to feature the Rose Parade. "Dance with the Terra Cotta Warriors" is a float co-sponsored by Shanxi Province and Phoenix Satellite TV in North America.
It is the first time in the 121-year history of the Pasadena Rose Parade with two Chinese floats.
The Shanxi float features the Terra Cotta Warriors, the pagoda and pavilion to demonstrate the culture of Xi'an. Over 50 dancers from Xi'an came to perform ancient Chinese dances during the two-hour parade along the float.
A total of 40 floats will participate in the New Year's Day parade, all decorated with fresh flowers. It is the second time China-themed floats will participate in the parade.
A float dedicated to the celebration of the Beijing
Olympics took part in the parade on January 1, 2008, making it the first time for a China-themed float to be featured in the New Year Rose Parade pageant.
Editor: Lin Liyu