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A Floating Parade: What success looks like


"Spectators on the banks and bridges cheered the parade," wrote the Wisconsin State Journal.

There were a lot of people taking pictures, of course, as there were a lot of people wearing wigs. From my position at the helm of the bubble-blowing canoe, I took pictures of the people taking pictures and felt happy. Yay! That's what I was hoping for: an audience!



The weather cooperated and the Fools Flotilla was a ton of fun. One of those magical community events that leaves people feeling lucky about how their day, or life, turned out. I know this because that is what people said. Boaters disembarked near the mouth of the river to find tables laid out with coffee and cookies shaped like fish and ducks. A hoard of children started devouring cookies leaving parents to caffienate before beginning negotiations about how many more cookies they could each eat. The audience mixed with the participants and conversations were energized. People were talking about how to work together on more projects, how to make more fun. Yay!

The River Alliance of Wisconsin banner hung between trees, large but not imposing, just leaving an impression in minds and answering the generally unasked or unformed questions: So, who organizes this thing?  and What is this all about?

The beautiful climbing tree is embellished with more ribbons than I could count. The messages scrawled on them are sweet and we plan to collect them from the branches to create a banner we'll hang from a bridge next year. Activity around the tree was pretty constant, my friends who live on Thornton report. I personally saw people at the Lock Box every single time I passed: parents and kids, teenagers, clumps of kids, people standing along contemplating. Yay. I just know that people were thinking "Oh, how wondrous it is to live on the Mighty Yahara!"

The original goals for the project were: 


  • Build a neighborhood narrative about the Yahara River
  • Highlight the public space along the river
  • Increase the audience for the third annual Fools Flotilla 











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