July 13, 2018
Don't miss the 2018 Float Preview Party on July 16 & 17 from 11 am - 9 pm at the Mountain American Expo Center in Sandy. This is a free event that includes music, activities, and fun for the whole family. It's also a wonderful way to see the Days of 47 floats up close and be able to meet the creators of the floats as well as vote for your favorite.
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to create a Days of 47 float, along with an amazing committee of volunteers from my area! I thought you might like an inside look at the building of a float and all of the work that goes into making this parade one of the best in the country.
So this is what a float base looks like. It's not much to look at! A rectangle box built over a car chassis. Trust me, people sure look at you funny when you tow this thing home at 15 MPH!
Next, we drew up plans using CAD so that we had exact dimensions. This also helped us to calculate the amount of supplies necessary. From there, the welders built the frame of the mountain on top of the float base as well as extending the sides and back to fit our decorations.
During the construction process, there were multiple artists that were working on sculpting the animals, people, and rock from large styrofoam blocks. None of the sculptors had any experience sculpting from styrofoam before. After sculpting, the pieces were mudded with dry wall mud, then sanded, around 3-4 times each, then sprayed with white paint as a base coat.
There was also much painting to be done. All of the animals, people, rocks and tree leaves had to be painted. We spent a large chunk of our budget on paint and adhesives.
We also were encouraged to add animation and special effects if possible. The raft on our float moves up and down using this contraption that is hidden inside the mountain. We also have "jumping" fish, real water coming out of misters on the front of the float and music that was specially recorded for our float by the Primary children in our area.
We worked in the EARLY mornings and LATE evenings for 2-3 months to bring all of the various elements together. We were very fortunate to have dedicated and talented volunteers to help. I have been asked the total number of hours it took to make this float. The answer...we don't know for sure but it literally is in the thousands!