Early every december the Berthoud Chamber of Commerce sponsors a Lights Parade, and many other events happen around it like art shows, craft shows, and one church holds a festival of trees where designer Xmas trees are displayed and put up for silent auction. Anyways, the parade is a very cute little local thing - about 4 blocks long, and surprisingly well attended, both by participants and spectators. So we said right away next year we'd have to enter a float.
The idea grew from a simple hay wagon, to a hay wagon with a couple of horses following, to putting the dogs on the hay wagon, etc. We'd talked it to death over the last year, and David and I both drew up sketches last week - unbeknownst that the other was - and it's pretty entertaining to see how similar they were to eachother. Really, almost identical. Ginger even exclaimed - "You both bothered to draw the truck in!"
I came home Friday to find Ginger, Dave and Roger all working inside the dog kennel on the float. I couldn't beleive what they'd put together in an afternoon!
(Since no contractors showed up Thursday or Friday - aaaarrrrggg! - they decided to take advantage of the shelter. Which ended up fortuitous because in doing so they realized the header for the new garage door was only 8 foot high, when we thought we were getting a nine foot door. The float is 9'6", the header came down. Dave'll have to talk to him about that next week.)
Saturday we had a lot of things to do. Me - first of month financials, Ginger - shopping for the float, David - go stand in line for KBCO Studio C Volume 17. So we didn't get back to it until about noon that day. And what did David discover first? That somehow the lights wiring on both the truck and trailer were messed up. So he and Roger set about throwing in some jury-rigged wiring that, well, never quite functioned right. Just how they got the trailer break lights to go DIM only when the breaks were pressed? No one is certain. So, not all of the finishing touches were put on, but OH WELL.
We had to take both trucks to pull the float and the horse trailer - then of all things swap the truck on the float because we like our red truck better (white truck can't pull our horse trailer). So we had that rig-a-marole to deal with, AS WELL AS coordinating with the horses. They dropped the horse trailer off first thing so they could unload and tack up while we got the float in the right place. There aren't a lot of horses in this parade, so they kindly organized it so that we were lined up on a different street with our horses and the other horse entry and then we pulled into line at the proper time.
Shadow and Harley were our parade stars. Well, Shadow was a star. Harley needed a lot of hand holding, but ended up doing just fine. Shadow's leaser, Allie, rode Shadow and our camp helper from last summer, Katie Beth, rode Harley. Ginger escorted them, which was a good think since Harley was fairly anxious until we got underway. Considering the incredibly strange environment that a parade is, however, they both behaved extremely well. Shadow had battery powered lights in his mane and tail, and Harley's rider Katie Beth put her lights on her jacket.
We had all of about 10 minutes, finally, to wait for the parade to start. Too bad we didn't get to dig into the hot chocolate and snacks Ginger had brought along - but it was hardly missed. Cisco and Autumsn were along, of course, and my friend Holly from work brought her hubby and toddler and most importantly, her two labradors along (just kidding Holly, we loved having all 5 of you there!), and Janice also came to fill out the float contingent, and Roger was running back and forth between me in the truck back to the float back to the horses - our commuication line. Next year? Walkie talkies I think.
I was a nervous wreck about the horses, so I volunteered to drive the truck. Ignorance is bliss, indeed. Turns out that I had the unique position to hear what people were saying just as they started to see our float - by the time the trailer came by I guess things were too noisy for those on the float to hear much. The most surprising thing about the whole experience - how weird and wonderful it was to hear so many people exclaim: "Happy Trails Dog Ranch?! What's that?!" Unfortunately 90% of the people did read Happy TAILS as TRAILS, oh well. Close enough they'll be able to find us in the yellow pages, I guess. If they weren't trying to read the signs out loud, they were exclaiming - "Oh, look at the puppies!" And then a second later - "HORSES!"
So - I guess our goal of creating some buzz in the community was reached.