Once again for the Buxton Carnival Parade, which takes place on the second Saturday of July as part of the Buxton Wells Dressing Festival, we worked with our Changing Faces participants, our extended Funny Wonders family and members of the public.
Our main attraction for the parade this year, building on the interactivity of the banner puppets which we paraded last year as part of our twentieth year celebrations, we created a gigante flowerpot person (linking in with the Buxton Flowerpot Project 2019 which we delivered) and environmentally-themed protest signs. Some of the younger people who joined us also dressed up as solar- and wind-powered vehicles using old materials and plastics.
For the environmental signs, we re-used some previously used canvasses donated after an art project ended, some old paints in our kit store and re-used the bamboo sticks we used for the banner puppets in the 2018 parade. The plan was to capitalise on the crowds drawn by the carnival parade to get across the message of reusing and repurposing materials. Many supported our message and thanked us for including it. I imagine we shall continue to do this for many years to come.
The gigante flowerpot person was made out of used flowerpots, left-over willow cane from the town's lantern parade workshops and old bits of materials from our kit store. The gigante took five people to operate - someone holding up the head and body and one person on each limb. It took a bit of practice to get the walking action and we explored what movements we could achieve - the dab didn't quite work, but the star jump and shimmy was well-received.
The interactivity with the crowd was wonderful. It brought smiles to the faces of people of all ages, gave many high fives and frightened a few dogs along the way. It even climbed a top the Discover Buxton tram and up to the first floor of a building where people were watching from the window. It wasn't half tiring though!
But this level of interactivity is something we hope to bring to every future Carnival parade. And of course, we will continue to create things made out of previously used materials and promote environmentally-minded messages.
To see more pictures of our creations and the day, see our Changing Faces 2019 page here.