Thursday, November 3, 2011

Detroit Parade Company Tour...Our First Guest Post!

Last Friday, some Cake Eaters (our Friday morning artist group) had the opportunity to go on a tour of the Detroit Parade Company. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the group was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the parade preparations. 
I was unable to attend, so Kat Campau is acting as our Guest Blogger of the day and giving us some information about the tour. Here is what Kat has to say:

Nine people from Two Twelve Arts toured The Parade Company in Detroit last Friday. We saw the floats in all stages of completion and repair. The tour guide showed us the process of making a float or character head. The Parade Company owns the largest number of character heads in the world, 400. Famous people from Michigan are featured as big heads.They even have a special group of pirates, made as a gift for them by artists in Italy. The pirates don't appear in the parade, but can be seen on the tour. A head can weigh from 5 to 60 lbs. To wear a head in the parade, people give a donation of $250. To be a clown, the cost is $1000. A special costume is designed and made for all the clowns.
Each float that is in the parade has a sponsor, who pays for the cost of making and repairing it. There are about 18 employees, and 2000 volunteers that work in the warehouse. Volunteers are involved in almost every aspect of running the parade. Any group or individual who wants to be part of this, can sign up on the website. When they walk in the door, volunteers are assigned a task. They can be painting a float one day, and greeting guests in costume another day.
One year in the 1980's there was no money to put on the parade. Art Van stepped in, and paid all the costs for that year, allowing the show to go on, as it has for 85 years.

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