It has been several years since MASS MoCA has participated in the annual North Adams Fall Foliage Parade. This year we decided to join in on the community parade lovin’ fun and build a float. If you have ever wondered just what it takes to build giant paper mache popcorn or replicate the box of your favorite snack then this post is for you!
The parade theme, Salute to Sports Fans, properly stumped us. How could we express art and sports together as one?¬† A moment of inspiration struck when we realized we needed to divorce the idea of making it clear that we are an art museum through our float creation.
A small group of us gathered for a brain storming meeting. What could we create as a Salute to Sports Fans? Finally one of our brain stormers had a epiphany; Giant Cracker Jack! What sports fan wouldn’t love swimming around in the caramely goodness of their favorite snack?
This collage acted as our inspiration during our building sessions.
We started by paper macheing balloons to look like popcorn. Once those were complete we began building a giant form out of chicken wire that would act as the pile of popcorn in the middle of the trailer.
We anchored an old Sprague box in the bed of the truck to give our cardboard Cracker Jack box sides the proper form.
Next we used a projector to blow up images of the Cracker Jack box and the prize packet inside. From stripes to nutrition facts to popcorn detail everyone who helped out by painting did an amazing job making the box and prize look super realistic.
We also built four scarecrows and dressed them head to toe in Steeple Cats garb.
Finally we were ready for parade day… sort of.¬† Because so much of our float was built of delicate objects we decided to put the entire thing together at the float judging location. Once we took the very slow trip to the staging parking lot we began stapling the cardboard¬† to the Sprague box and stringing popcorn onto wire.
The popcorn strings were attached to the top of the box and inserted into the center pile to achieve mid-pour action.
After a morning of rushing around we were glad to take a break while the judges where doing their thing and sneak a peek at all the other floats in the staging area.
The Steeple Cats were very gracious and loaned us the Slider the Steeple Cat costume for one of our parade crew members to wear. We had a large group of walkers and bike riders that were all sporting MASS MoCA baseball shirts and a few Steeple Cats fans showed up to trail behind the float as well.
Slider proved to be the most popular persona in the parade. We even had to save him from being mobbed by children a few times.
Along the parade route we handed out MASS MoCA temporary tattoos to the crowd and were delighted to hear how many people responded positively to the float.
A large team of people made this float and our presence in the parade possible, so here is a gigantic shout out to every single one of them.
We also want to thank everyone who stayed until the end of the parade and saw us as number 113 in the 126 entry line up. Your cheers, laughs and smiles made our hard work worthwhile.
See you at the parade next year!