The oohs and aahs of the crowd were heard long before the spectacle was in view. Was it a celebrity? Was it a superhero? Was it a Martian landing? No, no and no. It was much better. It was our Tillamook float in the Tillamook County June Dairy Parade, sponsored by the Tillamook County Creamery Association. Yes, it was that spectacular. And yes, I am tooting our own horn.
This past weekend, Tillamook County celebrated June Dairy Month with the 56th annual June Dairy Parade. This year’s theme was “Clowning Around” and everyone was in full-on clown mode. There were horses dressed as clowns, cows dressed as clowns, cars dressed as clowns, and, of course, actual clowns. What did we do, you ask? We made a circus themed float. Tillie was dressed as a clown and our float was a spinning Ferris wheel. And every Ferris wheel needs riders, which in our case, were Tillamook dairy products all decked out in wigs, clown noses and giant sunglasses.
For several days leading up to the parade, a volunteer group of employees gathered in the evenings to build and decorate our float. They engineered the concept, constructed the Ferris wheel and then decorated the entire float.
The judges were in awe. They couldn’t stop talking about the Ferris wheel after returning to the review stand. They were so inspired that they awarded our Tillamook float the first place trophy in the agricultural floats division and the Grand Sweepstakes trophy as being the best entry overall.
Riding on the float were the Oregon state dairy princess-ambassador and the dairy princess-ambassador first alternate. The rest of the court walked alongside the float. But our float wasn’t the only entry making an impression. We also had our Loaf Love Tour Tillatruck to lead us down the parade route and a walking brigade of nearly 40 farmer-owners, employees and their families who handed out cheese portions, stickers and temporary tattoos. They were having a blast and were just “Clowning Around” along the parade route blowing bubbles, wearing silly noses and sunglasses. Two of our large Tillamook branded semi-trucks, both of which also won first place in the Individual Trucks category, brought up the rear.
It’s sad to have to disassemble our float after so many hours went into its creation. But the Ferris wheel will make a second parade appearance on August 3 at the Umatilla County Fair Parade… just in case you want to check it out for yourself. In the meantime, mark your calendar now for the 2014 Tillamook County June Dairy Parade, sponsored by TCCA. It is always the fourth Saturday in June. See you next year!