Parade planning is an adventure in itself!
We had a wonderful adventure for St. Patrick’s Day. This is the third year we have been a part of the St. Joseph St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Our first adventure was making a float to hold our critters.
We realized last year that with the sides 5 boards high, it was hard to see the little critters we had in there. So 2 weeks before the event, we decided to revamp the float. We took two boards off the top. Hmm. Now they can be seen, but we need to make sure they don’t get out. Cattle panels to the rescue! We had a cool idea. Let’s bend two panels over the top! It will look like a covered wagon of sorts and give us some shade when we put a cover on it. We could run a board the length of the trailer up top and attach a tarp to the top and work it so the sides can roll up and down. And maybe even add windows. The cattle panels work wonderful. The center is about 7′ high. And since the hooped cattle panels are only 54″ wide there was a gap in the middle of the wagon. We took those utility panels with looped ends and cut the bottoms to fit over the wheel wells. Perfect fit.
The front of the wagon had rotting boards on the bottom, so the whole thing was taken off and rebuilt. We cut another looped top panel to fit across that space. We also added benches along both lengths of the wagon to hold the hooped panels in place as well as have a place for people to sit while they are inside getting some critter cuddling on. Now for the back where we would load the animals as well as get in. We need to repair the pieces and find a good gate or door to put on it. Then we remembered we had a pretty garden gate we could put to use. The next question was how to attach it to the back. After a few ideas we remembered we had a door frame for the gate that we used on the old petting farm pen. It just might work! We pulled it out of the barn and hauled it over to the float. We hoisted it up in place. Yep. It will fit. We pulled it down and unscrewed the top. We then slid the sides of the door frame through the cattle panels bent over the top. We replaced the top above the cattle panels and screwed it all back together. Nice! We attached the gate and that was good. Now to barricade the sides of the door frame so no one escapes. Again we cut and placed cattle panels for either side and put them in place.
Emma and I added a fresh coat of paint to the wood and it was good! The only problem was we didn’t have time to add the tarp. But we plan on adding that. It all worked out in the end. When we were finished with the float, we made a run to the store for decorations for the top of the float. I had decorations from the previous year for the bottom, but we now had cattle panel hoops to decorate. Greg was a little disappointed we didn’t have “St. Patrick’s Day” decorations, but I had tulle, I was good! Tulle was woven through the upper cattle panels in order of the Irish flag colors. And we had tulle for the sides. I also had some material that we used as accents. And don’t forget curly ribbon! That always adds a festive touch. It came out well and we want to expand on the decorations next year as well.
The most important thing to learn here is how we went about it. We used what we had to build the float. We had 2 trailers and made them into one that could work for us. Then we made improvements from what was laying around the farm. Always tweaking our initial idea until it fit. You have to get creative when you’re farming. If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have the capital to just provide what you need, then the next step is creativity! Always think outside the box.