Everything we do is made possible through grant funding, volunteers donating their time, and in-kind donations from the community. This project was made possible with funding from Artswave in Cincinnati. Artswave supports a huge number of artistic endeavors helping to build community and elevate the arts in our region and we have always appreciated their strong support through the years.
There is a lot of time spent waiting around on Opening Day Parade day. Everyone has to be in place by 10:30 a.m. We were pretty close to the end of the parade so even though it starts at 12:00 we did not move forward until around 1:30 int he afternoon. There are close to 200 entries in the parade and the route is 1.8 miles through downtown so it takes a long time until the back of the parade gets going.
My son likes to be in the parade when he can so we brought along an old favorite from past festivals, the Lazy-Boy bike. It is a tall bike with a nasty old recliner on the front that is always a big hit with kids. Last week I realized we were going to have various people riding on traditional bikes in the parade. Emilie, my husband, various kids who might rotate in and out of the seats on the two big bikes, and I would all be riding non-sculptural bikes. I thought we should make some big potato chips we could wear on our backs so that we would appear to be chips that fell out of the chip bag. You can see a couple leaned up against the lazy-Boy bike in the picture above. These were pretty easy to make overall. We made loops of 1/2" cpvc that had been cut in half so they were super-bendy. Then these were covered in chicken wire with a piece of luan added to the center so there would be something to attach straps on to. This was then covered in a couple layers of papiér mâché, then painted and heavy straps added to the back. These were fun and easy to wear and reminiscent for many of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shells, though of course, not green.
One day while working on the pickle bike Jason said he thought it would be great if he could wear a pig mask while driving the pickle bike in the parade. For about 2 seconds I thought this was a bit absurd, then I quickly realized it was brilliant. Not only are pigs a key image of Cincinnati with its long history of making and consuming pork products, but just the image of a pig steering a pickle through the streets was fabulous. I vowed to figure out a mask. What I ended up doing was making modifications to the fox mask design from Wintercroft we used the prior year with the STEAM Club kids. I mostly shortened the snout, made the ears bigger and rounder and the base, and added a pronounced end to the nose. This and some pink paint seemed to do the trick. Jason was delighted.
We finally got into our place in line. We were next to a band playing on a flat-bed truck and a bunch of Jesuit priests in the back of a pick-up.
Some strong winds between the city blocks caused some early headaches with the wind-sock-like design of the chip bag. We were so focused on visibility and being able to steer we didn't really think about wind issues. Luckily this happened early enough that we were able to make sufficient repairs before we had to move at all in the parade. We do travel with a full complement of hand tools, bike tools, and battery powered drills, but what really saved our bacon was the large quantities of duct tape we had brought along. I recalled an episode of Mythbusters that was a favorite of my son in which they were accomplishing various survival challenges with duct tape. I quickly began to twist large strips of duct tape in on itself to make long pieces of very strong duct tape "rope" that could be taped and wrapped around various points inside the structure to hold the whole thing together. It worked surprisingly well and managed to hold together for the entire parade until the last 20 feet of the last block when a large gust finally did it in.
The boys had to put a little more effort into pedaling than they had anticipated tooling about in the driveway but I think in the end they all felt the effort was worth it. We all had a great time for the day, sharing our silly hard work with the community.