Big Parade Gears Up
On yet another freezing Saturday afternoon in April, a dozen dedicated students worked on the foundations for several floats that will be unveiled on May 5 at the annual Big Parade in Tappan Square. As the floats were still in their infancy, it was impossible to discern that the basic generic platforms would eventually transform into robots, pirates and dinosaurs. The crew constructed the floats using of wooden planks, power tools and wheels.
Senior Gabriel Morden-Snipper explained that the most important component in the creation of a float is the idea behind its conception.
“You think, what would look awesome gigantic? What would make kids laugh? Smile?” he said.
The Big Parade began in 2001 and has been growing ever since. It is one of the rare opportunities where the town and the College can work together, during both in their construction of the floats and on the day of the parade. Yet every year, the Big Parade struggles to acquire adequate support from the College and community to bring it to fruition as the extravagant experience it has the potential to be. Still, the enthusiasm and motivation is evident in the dedication of the float builders.
But it still looks like the “poor man’s parade,” according to Big Parade founder Claudio Orso-Gericone.
Although the parade has received sufficient funding this year, it still lacks manpower and an ample work space. Without a place dedicated to the Parade, participants are forced to throw out their floats and supplies every year. Annual hard work is destroyed in the moments following the Parade.
“What we need is a new space…we need a barn. But no one will commit,” said Orso-Gericone.
Without a suitable space, the float-builders are forced to endure the bitter cold of the Ohio winters.
Orso-Gericone explained, “It is difficult to gather people and have them working. People are worried about the cold. But it’s always miserable; you just deal with it.”
The dedication of all the students, kids and adults creating floats was infinitely impressive. Delighting children in May was clearly worth enduring a few hours of cold as the hard workers assembled the beginning components of giant self-powered seesaws, monsters from Maurice Sendak’s children’s book Where the Wild Things Are and giant air balloons.
Inside the Oberlin ice rink, in 40-degree weather, the spirit was still alive.