Floating an Idea

7 Jan

Since 1991, with the exception of several years of bad weather, my club, Heimdal Science Fiction has built & entered a float in the local Christmas Parade. In 2006 our chapter actually won the trophy for Best Depiction of the Parade Theme.

In September of 2015 our club began kicking around ideas & plans for our float entry in the parade on December 4.

The parade theme was Oh, What a Miracle! At the September Heimdal meeting a member mentioned that he should be a float all by himself for having survived open heart surgery as an infant, which was truly a miracle. Someone picked that up & everybody ran with it, pointing out the members of our club who have survived not only major illnesses, but life-altering events as well. And the theme of our float was born … Survivors, Oh What a Miracle!

A member offered his Star Trek adapted, Galileo-styled shuttle van to pull the float, his trailer FOR the float & his huge shed & yard to build the float. And we were off again & running … or floating.

We had a sign professionally made that stated our theme; Survivors: Oh, What a Miracle! Members volunteered to be on the float holding signs that told of their survivorship; for example – breast cancer, uterine cancer, bi-polar disorder, workplace violence, congenital heart defect, diabetes, stroke; 10 members in all.

I got together with 2 other artistically inclined members at my home & we made signs for each survivor to hold on the float. The signs depicted Christmas gifts with the name of what the person survived written on the package. The bows on each package were the actual Awareness Ribbons that signify the disorder & were the color of those Awareness Ribbons. It took the 3 of us all day long, with a pleasant stop for lunch at a local restaurant, to make most of the signs. I finished up what we didn’t get done several days later.

The last weekend in November, a number of our members met at the Davis home & constructed the float; covering parts & hand rails with cedar & lights. A Christmas tree was set up at one end of the float, decorated & later, on parade evening at the parade site, each package being held by a survivor was connected to the well-lit Christmas tree by a ribbon the color of the individual Awareness Ribbons. All survivors on the float wore Star Trek: Next Generation uniforms because part of our float message was to point out that there are “survivors” in every group of people, every organization & area of life. Truly a miracle.

17 of us came out on parade night & helped with our float. 2 people walked ahead of the float carrying the banner for our parent organization, Starfleet, followed by 3 members carrying our recently acquired Heimdal banner. All our members walking & carrying banners wore Santa hats, which was cool & added a bit of humor to our presentation. One of our members was dressed as an elf & walked beside the float handing out candy canes to those watching the parade along the parade route. Carl drove his van that pulled the float & the 10 of us on the float holding our significant Christmas packages.

All along the parade route people cheered when we went by & called out, “Star Trek.”  Many gave us the Vulcan salute & one woman walked closer to the float, looked up at me holding the Breast Cancer “package” & said to me, “Keep on fighting …” I almost cried. It became obvious at that moment that people not only understood that we were the local science fiction club, but most of them actually “got” the message we were attempting to convey with our float. And somehow, that was HUGE.

It was 34 degrees the night of the Christmas Parade & our folks were so cold at the end of the parade route that most of us could no longer feel our toes.  That’s pretty cold. But everyone was very proud that we had made an excellent original contribution to the parade, especially after seeing the reaction of those lining the parade route. We realized that we were there for a multitude of reasons.

Did our float win any trophies? Not this year. It’s difficult to compete in a county parade with churches, kids & animals, but often, winning is not the most important thing. What we decided is that as a club we ARE winners. Our float theme was significant & made a statement that is timeless & putting the float together was an excellent example of team work & what you can do if you work together & try. And it was just plain fun being in the parade, carrying Starfleet & Heimdal banners, waving to the crowd that recognized & obviously LIKED us & sharing an evening with friends.

Will we do another Christmas Parade float? Some of our members are already kicking around float ideas for THIS year’s Christmas parade, even though it’s a long way off.

In the end, though, enthusiasm & friendship are what drives the float …

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2 Responses to “Floating an Idea”

  1. Willy January 8, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

    This was truly a TEAM effort and it shows. Thanks to everyone who really made it special!
    And to Linda who wrote this fine blog!

    Like

    • heimdalco January 8, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

      Awww, thank you, Willy. It’s great to hear your opinion, ESPECIALLY since you were there for every part of the float build AND were on the float. Our being in the parade just seemed a little bit magical this year.

      Like

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