We "volunteered" to build a float for the Bristol Fourth of July parade this year. The parade is the oldest Fourth of July celebration in the country, so it is a big deal for our town and good for our businesses. The float was sponsored by the Bristol Merchants Association and the theme was
"Thank You for Shopping Local".
Susan O'Donnell from Sue Casa, Lynn Shaw from Harbor Bath & Body, Kathleen Sequin from Bristol House Bed & Breakfast, my wife Peggy and I worked on a design and proceeded to beg, borrow or steal (kidding) all the bits and pieces to build the float. We were on a tight budget so we wanted to come up with a gimmick to set us apart from the rest.
We decided to make the float look like a dock down by Bristol Harbor with some "shoppers" relaxing in some adirondack chairs after a hard day of shopping. We added some large shopping bags and a sunset scene painted by Bristol's Gallery Eleven artist Denise Zomba. The "gimmick" was to make the waves on each side of the dock move.
We didn't want to run a generator on the float to power some motors to make the wave action, so we came up with contraption using junk bicycle parts. Here is a link to some video of the float in action.
The bike wheel in the back of the trailer rides on the street and drives the two sides.
A small committee judges the floats before the parade and we won "Most Patriotic"! Not bad for our first try. We all had a great time doing it and we are already thinking about ideas for next year.