“Flower Power” Summer Float Needs Flowers

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG)  |  By Elise Spleiss
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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The call is going out for flowers flowers, and more flowers! Parade season is still six months away but Float Master Wayne Harmer of Rancho Cordova is well into the creation of his family’s 2018 float “Flower Power”, to appear in the annual Citrus Heights Red, White and Blue parade on June 24, and the 4th of July parade in Rancho Cordova.

The 24 to 26-foot flower laden float will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1960’s hippie movement which originated in San Francisco. It will feature a colorful ‘hippie’ Volkswagen bus, flying eagle, twelve-foot high double waterfall and over a thousand flowers. To date, Harmer has been able to acquire several hundred flowers but the hunt is on for donations of hundreds more plastic, silk or other synthetic flowers.

Those donating will be able to look for their flowers on the “Flower Power” float this year, and for years to come on future entries.  Nothing is thrown away from Harmer’s floats, everything is saved for future use.

If you wish to donate and see your flowers coming down the parade route, contact Harmer directly at 916-910-5536 to arrange for drop off.  Harmer’s floats are a family affair. They are not sponsored, all funds to build floats are out-of-pocket. Gift cards from Dollar Store and Dollar Tree stores are welcome. Thrift stores and garage sales are also a good source for flowers.

Plans for this year’s float began over a year ago. Even as Harmer is guiding his latest self-propelled float down the parade route, he is creating next year’s entry in his mind. Like the sculptor, his motto is, “If you can’t see it with your eyes closed, you can’t create it with your eyes open.”  He puts no drawings to paper, but lets the concept take shape on its own and then puts it down on paper.

Harmer’s Floats have won numerous awards in Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova for almost 20 years since the family’s first entry in 1999. The elements he includes in each float are some form of running water, smoke and animation or moving parts.

The family’s latest float was built in three weeks for the first Holiday Lights parade in Rancho Cordova on December 3, 2017. The parade was the brainchild of Rancho Cordova resident Jerry Jewell. The only requirement for floats was of ‘lots of lights’ which was incorporated into a winter camping scene complete with a realistic camp fire pit and snow from a snow cannon which delighted both children and adults alike.

What makes Harmer’s entries even more unique is that he has the only ‘self-propelled float trailer which he drives down the parade route. All the mechanical parts are hidden within the float.