Damian is going to be in a PARADE!!!
You didn't think that just because we didn't make our million dollar milestone by May 24th we were going to give up fundraising, did you??? Of course you didn't! :) We just have to make up for lost time by taking it up a notch!!
If you saw our latest GoFundMe update, you'll know that this week I confirmed our application to be in our city's Independence Day Parade!! Yesterday, a lady from the city called and confirmed our entry and gave me all the details (when and where to show up, make sure everyone marching in our group has signed a waiver, etc.). It's OFFICIAL! We're in!!!
This time last year, I SO BADLY wanted to promote our cause and our fundraiser in Santa Clarita's 4th of July parade, but due to Covid, the city didn't hold one last year. There was an unofficial car "cavalcade," which we DID try to be a part of, but that was before we had car magnets and well... the meager poster board we tried to strap to our car with twine was ripped to shreds by the wind in about two seconds, and then we took a wrong turn somehow and lost the group, and... it was a valiant but overall disappointing venture (though not entirely unsuccessful - a small handful of people took notice of our signs before they ripped apart).
THIS YEAR though - it's official. A real parade, with a HUGE audience, at a normal marching pace. My goals with our entry are to (1) clearly state our message and (2) do so in a fun, memorable, and PRESS-WORTHY manner!
Turns out my career experience in theme park design comes in real handy when it comes to public "edutainment" (education + entertainment). Here's what I've proposed to the city:
OUR PARADE ENTRY!
I decided on celebrating the relatable, timeless, and easily-made-American theme of "NEVER give up!" - and who is a more perfect mascot for this theme than... the Itsy Bitsy Spider?!! Not only does this spider teach us about undying resilience and determination (which strengthens our campaign message), but the song has also been Damian's very favorite song since he was probably 1 month old! (And as my mom pointed out to me yesterday, if we play the song over loudspeakers as we walk, it will probably keep Damian happy haha). We will also, of course, have to include some patriotic decor and maybe throw in a patriotic song or two in the audio mix so we're not constantly listening to "Itsy Bitsy Spider" for the entire parade route.
I've told the city that our entry will consist of (1) our car - with the magnets that WON'T rip to shreds, (2) an oversized but lightweight "waterspout" carried by two people, and finally (3) a HUGE but ADORABLE spider that will "chase" after the waterspout for the duration of the parade!
If this were for a client, I would have spent more time on this drawing, but I'm sure you all won't mind a rough napkin sketch:
Of course, as long as it's not triple-digit heat, Damian will be there too, along with (hopefully) some others to help me pass out special flyers and candy as we go!
What do you think???
We absolutely could do something extremely simple instead, but I've been to this parade before - and I'm sure most of you have been to city parades too. This is a long parade and if there's nothing fun to hold your attention, you are not paying attention to each group for long. My goal is for everyone to WANT to take a flyer and WANT to know our story! I am determined to be an unforgettable entry and make the front page of something with this cute and determined spider (or at least a bunch of Instagram posts!!).
HOW are we going to pull this off???
The waterspout is already in my shopping cart (I'm going to attach a dog agility tunnel to some poles and then add some blue streamers at the end for "water!"), and then I'm going to give Damian's old stroller (the one we used before we got the Special Tomato adaptive stroller) a new life by taking out the removable seat and replacing it with a large foam/cardboard/paper mache spider!!! Isn't it cute??
We'll have to name it at some point! I am absolutely open to suggestions!
There's a LOT to do:
Make the waterspout
Make the spider
Find/make/edit the music track
Decorate Damian's current stroller so people know it's him while we march!
Design & print the flyer (how many should we plan on printing???)
Get shirts for everyone marching with us!
Probably wash the car (haha)
I'll be sharing progress updates on my Instagram stories! Hopefully I will be able to make a lot of progress this weekend - wish me luck!!! If this parade attracts the big crowd it has brought out in years past, this could be a really really really big help for us. I sure hope it is!!