Have you ever seen the Deer Park float in a parade and admired the Miss Deer Park Representatives’ smiles as you dance along to the fun music? Do you ever wonder how the float theme is chosen and what all goes into the design and decoration of the vehicle?
From the very first Deer Park float that carried Miss Deer Park along with a single deer on the front and pine tree on the back, to the floats of today with elaborate decor, matching outfits for the ladies, upbeat music, moving pieces, fun themes, and a crew who make the magic happen, floats are an important feature in parades, and bring a smile to many a bystander.
When asked why not just have a Deer Park-themed float each year, Karen Watson of the Float Association laughed a bit and asked how many ideas I could come up with using a deer, pine trees, and maybe apple trees. I had to agree, that could get pretty boring. Float themes have ranged from Disney movies to Elvis to showing support for our police and firemen. The Float Association works hard to keep it fresh and interesting.
Competition and Float Life
With the competition to entertain and have an eye-pleasing design, the members of the Deer Park Float Association meet in January and discuss ideas – some bring themes, some bring music ideas, and others bring a strong combination of both. They say music makes the world go ‘round, and it certainly does drive up the popularity of a float!
Watson shared that finding music can be a challenge. The songs have to appeal to all ages to get the approval of the entire crowd, and everyone involved with the float will also have to listen to these same two songs over and over again.
The float construction begins in early January, with the bare bones structure to support the “pretties” as well as the newly crowned Miss Deer Park Representatives. Once these ladies have been selected, they and their families are part of the volunteer crew with required hours to help build the float for the May maiden voyage through Deer Park. A group of dedicated volunteers, along with the Miss Deer Park Representatives and their families, travel most weekends throughout the summer to promote our community, promote Deer Park Settlers’ Day, and bring home trophies – yes, the float competition is fierce each year. The fun continues through October with the float tear down after Pumpkin Lane.
Representatives and Volunteers
The City of Deer Park provides the building for the Float Association and the insurance; the volunteers must raise the remaining funds to build the float, and pay for gas both for the float, as well as the truck required to haul it to their many destinations. Volunteers also pay for their own hotels and travel expenses each week. Many of the members of the association have been working together for years, and the weekend excursions are more of an annual planned getaway than work.
Those who put these long hours into building the community float, and who take time out of their personal lives to travel with the float to over a dozen parades in our region each year, take great pride and joy in this service.
Be sure to watch for the float and our community representatives at this year’s Settlers’ Day parade, and come meet the crew who make the magic happen down at the park afterward.