Rooster and I joined a few of our ABATE friends to build the Haynes Apperson float. We suffered the loss of a hammer before we attended the festival. #Haynes Apperson Festival #4th of July #parade #float #Kokomo #Indiana #ABATE
The Haynes-Apperson float
How do you create a Fourth of July float on a limited budget? You borrow a trailer from a friend, collect a handful of volunteers, come up with a theme, get some straw, and throw everything that comes in the shades of red, white and blue in its direction. That’s exactly how the members of Howard County ABATE spent last Friday evening. Hence, they spend the evening building the Hayne Apperson float.
The mission: come up with a Tiny Tots themed float for The Haynes-Apperson Festival Parade, and don’t make it look the same as it did last year. The event takes place annually on the Fourth of July weekend to celebrate the city of Kokomo’s automotive heritage. Ever since Elwood Haynes test drove his Pioneer on July 4, 1894, this community has experienced a love affair with the automobile. Haynes’ first cruise down Pumpkinvine Pike attracted a large crowd.
The clumsy machine moved at a rapid pace of 7 miles per hour. When Haynes traveled as far as he wanted to go, he turned the vehicle he’d built in his kitchen around with the help of Elmer Apperson. This first ride convinced Elwood Haynes and the Apperson brothers they were onto something big. They soon found themselves hip-deep in the automobile manufacturing industry. The city of Kokomo has been building cars ever since.
The Haynes-Apperson Festival
This year the Haynes-Apperson Festival took place from July 4 through July 6. There were carnival rides and fair food in Foster Park, a car show downtown, music at the Kokomo Performing Arts Pavilion, Saturday night fireworks, and a parade. The lineup for the artist who would perform for the festival began on Thursday night with Quiet Riot. Friday night spin Doctors performed to a rain-soaked crowd. Saturday night The Marshall Tucker Band took the stage. Our contribution to the festival was the role we played in the Parade.
The float assemblers started gathering in the Horizon Church parking lot at 5:30 p.m… Fernando was the first person to arrive. He got busy building the railing that would hold the straw in place once it was loaded on the trailer. He left for a few minutes. Someone stole the hammer he was using to secure the 2 by 4’s. Indeed, the hammer became the first casualty building the Haynes-Apperson Festival float.
The missing hammer
Rooster and I got there while he was still getting over the hammer’s disappearance. We located a sledgehammer. It didn’t take long for the frame to get assembled. Kevin Ellis showed up with a truckload of bailed hay. I thought we were going to have a long night ahead of us, but other volunteers started showing up as if a magic spell was drawing them to the parking lot where the trailer was waiting for decorations. It was time to cover the hay with as much red, white, and blue flair as we could stick in one spot.
It didn’t matter if our creation looked gaudy. The design of the patriotic-themed rolling billboard needed to be bold enough to capture the attention of the people who would line the downtown streets the following morning. Thus, we finished building the Haynes-Apperson Festival float.
The approaching storm
The sky to the west started to turn dark. The wind kicked up while we put the Tiny Tots motorcycle and barriers on the trailer to get a good idea of how the final product would look in the morning. Rooster and I made a trip to the store for a tarp. We managed to remove the items of value and store them for the night and cover the trailer before the first raindrop fell. The shower didn’t amount to much. There was a brief downpour accompanied by wind. We climbed into separate vehicles and headed for the heart of the city.
Rooster and I found a food vendor as soon as we entered Foster Park. The aroma of the kabobs roosting on the grill told us we didn’t need to look around to find the perfect fair food. Rooster ordered two. We ate them while we strolled toward the edge of the park where ABATE set up their trailer.
The Spin Doctors
Every year we have a booth where we pass out literature and talk to anyone who is interested in motorcycle safety. The Spin Doctors took the stage before we finished eating our food. The heavy rain that didn’t show up earlier made an appearance in the middle of their performance. Umbrellas popped open all across the park. People folded up their lawn chairs and headed for their cars, but we stayed dry underneath the trailer awning.
It pays to be a part of a motorcycle rights organization. We were able to listen to the entire concert without getting wet. The kids on the playground equipment to our right didn’t stop their fun because of the rain.
The party is over
The rain quit shortly before the music ended. Rooster and I took a leisurely stroll back to the Sunshine Mobile. We made one final check of the float before we called it a night. We were glad we bought the tarp. There was a big puddle of water weighing down the middle of the plastic covering. All the American flags and red, white, and blue decorations would have got soaked without protection from the rain. They were going to have to be careful about removing the tarp in the morning.
Tomorrow was going to be an exciting day. The motorcycle riders of ABATE would lead out the parade. It was guaranteed to be one hot, sticky adventure. Thunderstorms are in the forecast. With any luck, it would hold off until after the parade. Rooster and I settled in for the night. It was hard for me to get to sleep. I was excited about the adventure waiting for us all tomorrow.
To be continued.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
Be sure to follow Molly on Twitter!