Float builders prepare for UA Homecoming parade
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Engineering students build a Homecoming float.
The float lineup for the UA Homecoming parade may have changed, but the number of applicants and their creativity have not.
Although floats will line up this year along Second Street on the west side of Cherry Avenue due to streetcar construction, this has not had much of an impact on the 52 floats participating in the parade.
In fact, some float builders have even based their design on the new streetcar.
The Theta Tau engineering fraternity is building its biggest float ever, which will be about 23 feet long. The fraternity is working on an “in with the new, out with the old” theme. Their float will incorporate the new streetcar and the old trolley car.
However, building the float has not exactly been easy. The initial design for Theta Tau’s float was not done properly and there were issues obtaining funding for some of the equipment, said Sarah Anne Thompson, an industrial engineering junior in charge of aesthetics for the float.
“We rely on some of our local businesses for help on things and the economics for this year’s been pretty hard,” Thompson said. “They haven’t been able to help us out as much, so we’ve had to buy a lot of our equipment and materials.”
Despite potentially going over the $1,000 budget, some members are looking at the new float as an investment. Michael Bramer, an aerospace engineering sophomore and float committee head for Theta Tau, said the fraternity would need to purchase less wood in the future, because it will be able to reuse what is purchased this year.
Thompson said the fraternity has been working on plans for the float for months, as opposed to some groups, which started only a few days before the event. She said they have advantages in other areas as well.
“Other people have tried to do some of the mechanical work we do — unfortunately they don’t have the background or the help we get from alumni to see those all the way through,” Thompson said. “I feel like our projects may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, but they’re definitely the most involved.”
Some other groups have commented on the competition against Theta Tau, because of the engineering fraternity’s winning streak, but said they were focused on the experience more than the prize money.
“They’re in this more for the experience, not for the prize,” said Luis Mariscal, a public management and policy junior and co-director of the Freshman Class Council. “And that’s what’s really important for us.”
Council members presented their ideas to the ASUA Senate and received full funding to build a float that would represent the student government. Members began working on the float on Sunday night and finished Wednesday night.
Members will walk alongside the float at the parade and hold up signs and chant to promote different programs and services of ASUA, said Sarah Parkos, a creative writing junior and the council’s co-director. The theme of this year’s float is “Wildcats in the Hat.”
“It’s good because the freshmen are so excited, and seeing their enthusiasm … that carries really strongly with what ASUA is all about,” Parkos said. “It’s a great way to get them knee-deep in the sort of processes that go on in ASUA.”
Six alumni judges will pick first, second and third place winners and will announce them sometime during the Homecoming football game on Saturday.