Choosing a Western theme for a parade float opens up a lot of creative possibilities. The West represents a sense of rugged adventure. Simple items such as hay bales, small logs or large styrofoam boulders can add texture and dimension to a wild west scene. With such inexpensive raw materials, it's not difficult to create a Western-themed parade float on a budget.
The colors that are used on a Western-themed float do not have to be limited to tans and browns. Southwestern colors, such as corals or soft desert pastels, as well as deep cactus greens can also communicate a feeling of the Old West. For the surface of the trailer, staple tan-colored artificial turf to give the impression of desert sand. Vinyl fringe is sold by the yard by craft suppliers. This fringe is especially appropriate for a Western float. Attach it to the edges of the trailer with a staple gun so that it drapes over the sides, hiding the trailer wheels. Trim the fringe as necessary so it doesn't drag on the ground. A garland made from colorful bandannas that have been folded into triangles and tied end to end can be draped along the side of the float on top of the fringe.
Once the surface and sides of the float have been covered, there are a number of large-scale props that can be used to carry out the Western theme. Sculpt chicken wire into the shape of desert cacti and cover the structures by inserting green tissue paper squares into the openings. These plants can be attached to the wood floor of the trailer with a staple gun. Hay bales can provide seating for any cowboy or cowgirl passengers. Small garden wagons can be used to create a mock covered wagon. Use cardboard to cover the sides of the wagon, and use a black marker to add a wood grain effect to the cardboard. Make the top of the covered wagon by forming chicken wire into the appropriate shape over the top of the wagon and covering it with white tissue paper squares.
Features and Trims
Why not add a mock campfire to the scene? Start by arranging rocks in a circle. These rocks should not be huge, but they should be large enough to be seen. Place a battery operated spotlight in the center of the circle and stack small logs on top of the spotlight, making sure that the power switch is exposed. Add crumpled red, orange and yellow cellophane, and turn on the spotlight to complete the warm glow of a campfire. Add a few logs for seating and some volunteers in Western dress. For added effect, have participants sing campfire songs as they travel the parade route.
- ThriftyFun: Western-Themed Float Ideas
- Dream Themes, Diane Cory & Becky Olmstead, 2001
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