Businesses and organizations all over town are preparing for one of Jamestown's most notable events: the annual Christmas parade.
Every year, thousands of residents willingly bear the cold to watch the line of sundry floats. While the entertainment supplied from the parade is well worth the wait in the cold, the work which allows the parade to occur begins well before the floats queue up.
"It's a lot of work getting a float together, but it's also a lot of fun," said Rachael Olson, owner-operator of Karma Salon. "It's fun to see the people and pass out candy - it's just really exciting."
Dave Juhl’s self-propelled Christmas tree float will be one of many at tonight’s Christmas parade.
Pictured, from left, are Mary “Susan B. Amputee” Hetrick, Megan “Aeon Fox” Renard, and LeeAnn “Leanderthal” Conti pose in front of a nearly completed Babes of Wrath float for the annual Christmas parade taking place tonight.
P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb
Olson and her coworkers will attempt to put the finishing touches on the salon's float early this morning. Even though building the float might be a little stressful, Olson believes the float will help to bring Karma Salon's name to the public.
"It's a great way to get your name out there," said Olson. "So many people from the area come to see this, so we love to give them a great float to look at. ... Last year, we passed out certificates and cards to let people know where we are. We just started a tattoo shop here as well, and we want people to know about that. I've had people come in before and tell me, 'we saw your float in the parade,' so that's definitely evidence that people appreciate the hard work you put into the parade."
Though some organizations keep their floats relatively low-key - perhaps a decorated truck or employees in costumes - others make the decision to go for the gold and put weeks of effort into their floats.
Those on hand to watch the parade today will be sure to notice the Babes of Wrath float, as it is nearly 40 hours in the making.
"It took us an awfully long time to get this ready," said LeeAnn Conti. "Between getting all the materials together, constructing the float and waiting for things to dry ... it took a lot of time and patience, but it was well worth it."
Currently, the Babes of Wrath, or as they joked while making their float, the "Babes of Craft," have 10 active skaters on their roster, and every member contributed at least partially in the creation of the float.
"To be honest, there was some tension putting together the float, because you have so many people who have so many visions, sometimes it is difficult to get everyone to agree on the same thing," said Mary Hetrick. "However, we can all agree that the final product is great. ... Being in the parade anything that we do that isn't rollerskating and practicing brings us together and makes us feel like a tighter-knit team."
In addition to participating in the annual Christmas parade, the Babes of Wrath are active in the community throughout the year. To learn more about the Babes, visit www.babesofwrath.com.
And while most of what queues up in the parade will either be vehicles or traditional floats, don't be surprised if you see something in line that you've never seen before, such as a self-propelled Christmas tree.
"This year, the theme of the parade is 'a traditional caring Christmas,'" said Dave Juhl, member of Der Kobblers. "So I dwelled on the word 'traditional,' and there's nothing more traditional than a Christmas tree. I wanted to keep it simple, so I thought, 'just a Christmas tree.' Then I thought of The Shriners the way they have their go-karts and how that entertains the kids, so I thought it would be fun to have a powered Christmas tree. Not a tree on a trailer or a truck, just a tree. So here's the result."
Of course, Der Kobblers has a history of thinking outside the box when it comes to the annual Christmas parade. Two years ago, when the theme was "Christmas around the world," the organization built an eight foot globe which rotated on its own. This year, Juhl expects that the self-propelled Christmas tree, which is actually built on an ATV, should turn a few heads.
"I hope people like it," said Juhl. "What I'm worried about is getting (the tree) to the parade. I can only imagine the 911 calls that might come in when people look out their windows and see a Christmas driving itself down the road."
James Cappalino will have the honor of driving the Der Kobblers' Christmas tree when it comes time for the parade.
Street closings for the parade will begin between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., and downtown restaurants will be open for dinner prior to the parade. Razz and Friends will be providing a free, live pre-parade concert for parade-goers on Tracy Plaza at 5:45 p.m. The parade will officially begin at 6:30 p.m.