April 5, 2012: St. Paddy’s Parade, An Amazing Race.
St. Paddy’s Parade, An Amazing Race.
By Lorrie Marlow.
For local float participants, the St. Paddy’s Parade became the Amazing Race TV show on the Laurier Bridge at 9am on March 10! The Hintonburg Economic Development Committee (HEDC) and the Carleton Tavern float crew scrambled to build a St. Patty’s Parade float alongside 56 other teams and trucks. The HEDC/CT team had two hours to build a float before the truck left the bridge at 11am and there was no time for chatter.
At the barricades that closed the Laurier Bridge, the City Police waved Roger Power’s truck, through transporting a giant green hat. The next truck is Al and John Peterson of Home Restoration Renovation Services, full of construction tools and material all pulled up alongside the tractor trailer unit donated by Drummond Trucking.
The float team were ready for the Hat and the decorations donated by the Carleton Tavern and the West Wellington BIA. No items were nailed down to the flatdeck until Reg Carkner with the band Gruff Sisters Kitchen Party set up the generator and the band equipment. Brian Cooper of the Cooper Brothers arrived and the band tuned up guitars.
The temperature was –7 C degrees and the guitar players hoped they didn’t blow a guitar string in the chilly weather. Volunteers with frozen hands continued to wrestle with a large burlap bag of gold coins right up until the truck pulled away. A dozen local Hintonburg kids arrived dressed like leprechauns and the parents pitched in to help decorate. Everyone jumped on the float as the floats started to line up. One child needed a bathroom and wanted to use the toilet on the BOB-FM float but unfortunately that toilet was only for decoration. As the truck pulled away, the band coached the leprechauns on the dance moves for the Unicorn song to be performed.
Down Laurier Avenue towards Bank Street was the coldest stretch of this parade. The leprechauns danced to keep warm, engaging the crowd. Dan Baker, our smiling flag bearer, walked in front of our float waving the Irish flag with a lightweight pole designed by Sander Geophysics. Our float escorts looked like characters from Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat with their tall striped green hats dancing alongside the float handing out candy donated by Giant Tiger. The float was a period light standard with the historic street signs for Parkdale and Armstrong, designed by Kimberly Burke. People in the crowd point it out and appeared to recognise the famous cross streets in Hintonburg.
The leprechauns stepped up their energy up when they hit the Clocktower Pub where the St. Patty’s Parade judges are stationed! The HEDC/Carleton Tavern float has won Best Float twice and hoped for a hat trick this year! At the end of the parade route, the team was excited and exhausted as we pulled alongside the 56 other floats in Lansdowne Park.
The Carleton Tavern provided sandwiches and drinks for the starving leprechauns. Our construction crew arrived to dismantle the float we just built; the Hat and other items will be stored for next year. The HEDC/ Carleton Tavern float crew retired to the Carleton Tavern to debrief with lots of laughter and wait for the results from the judges.
Unfortunately, no hat trick for this float but we have not been eliminated and the team is full of ideas for next year! A huge thanks to our sponsors and volunteers. It was an amazing race!
Photo Caption: The Hintonburg Economic Development Committee (HEDC) and the Carleton Tavern float may not have won a hat trick at the St. Paddy’s Day Parade but the crew had a fine time, reports writer Lorrie Marlow. Photo by TIM THIBEAULT
Photo Caption: The float escorts looked like characters from Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat with their tall striped green hats dancing alongside the float handing out candy donated by Giant Tiger. Photo by TIM THIBEAULT