First, a metal structure is fabricated to provide the "bones" of the float, he said. Then come the basic wooden blocks, which need to be sturdy enough to hold dozens of costumed samba-dancing participants for hours. Then the elaborate decorations â¿¿ fiberglass or plastic foam sculptures, which must be draped in cloth, painted or embroidered.

Unlike Schneider, Gomes seldom joins in the parade, preferring to watch from the stands so he doesn't miss any of the show. He confessed that he cries when he sees his work debut on the parade ground.

"Each year, it's a child of mine that is born before the public eye," he said. "The emotion is too big for words."

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

If you liked this article you might like

What's Behind the Surge in Energy Stocks

Hillary Clinton Says Prosecuting Individuals is Key to Wall Street Reform