Water-Themed Ideas for a Parade Float


Unique and eye-catching parade floats can be fun and challenging to build. Professional floats can take up to year to build, and cost more than $50,000. Coming up with a theme is the first critical step. Water themes work well for companies whose business involves oceans, harbors, recreational centers or boats. Water themes also can address environmental issues well still advertising for a company or organization.


  • A tropical paradise, complete with waterfall, could make a colorful parade float. Create a high point at the back or front of your float, and have the waterfall coming down onto the lower level. Use different colored blue streamers as water, or sheer blue fabric that can be bunched up at the bottom to simulate foam. Place twinkle lights blinking in a running pattern under or in the waterfall material as water falling. The lower level should contain a pool of blue material for water, as well as green areas for land. A palm tree, or other tropical plants, as well as colorful birds complete the scene.


  • Include whales in your parade float, such as killer or Beluga whales, to attract the crowd's attention. Only the head and possibly the fins need to be shown as the rest can be assumed to be under the water. Create a blue platform for your float, with ripples and waves. Use blue material or crepe paper to make it look like the ocean. Putting shiny ribbons or sparkles in the water will make it sparkle and reflect, catching people's eyes. This float is appropriate for environmental groups as whales are often seen as symbols for ocean conservation.

Old Swimming Hole

  • Bring back memories by recreating the old swimming hole. Create a wilderness area with trees, stumps and rocks made from chicken wire and paper. Build the float up to a higher layer in the middle, and create an indent for the swimming hole. Have people, or dummies, sitting with their legs in the swimming hole, wearing colorful bathing suits. Add accessories like inner tubes, goggles and scuba fins on your people. A big sign saying, "Ol' Swimming Hole" with an arrow pointing toward the hole completes the float.

Giant Squid

  • Your parade float will attract attention when it includes a giant squid towering out of the water. A basic blue base will work well, painted or covered to look like water. Have giant squid tentacles coming out of the base and twirling around in mid air all around your float. Some tentacles could be grabbing things such as boats or fishermen. Just the top of the squid (or octopus) head can be seen, with giant eyes peering at the crowd. Have a tentacle coming out and wrapping around or over the driver portion of the parade float.

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  • Photo Credit harbor image by Einar Bog from Fotolia.com
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