By Edward Cardenas

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – Highly trained professionals and dedicated volunteers are working tirelessly in The Parade Company studios to transform metal, wood, steel, foam, chicken wire and paint into the playful and awe-inspiring floats which will travel down Woodward for America’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Existing floats are being touched up and prepared to viewed by 1 million people on Woodward, and crews are working to complete the four new floats from distinguished clown float, Lear Corporation float, a float designed by a Detroit Public Schools student for the Skillman Foundation the Motown Museum float, which was commissioned by Art Van Furniture.

“We design the floats with the various companies who are sponsoring,” said Tony Michaels, president and CEO of The Parade Company, who stated the work is then turns over the designs  to art director Dave Danielson  “He then brings in numerous artists – graduates of CCS, Wayne State , Michigan State … who are just magicians when it comes to Styrofoam and all.”

This team of workers have come together to make the 88th edition of the parade – which is presented by Art Van – a reality.

Danielson said the initial stages of float design includes drawing a plan view and profile view of the floats. Artists then take each component to create and scale it out in the studio. As Danielson completes the final design, crews are already working on the length of float, placement of wheels on the chassis and sketching the plan view on the floor.

Once the base is complete, a frame is made to go around the chassis. As that is happening, artists are sculpting other elements of the floats. All of this work occurs simultaneously in The Parade Company studios, and then comes together just days before the float is unveiled.

“It takes a little bit of everything from carpenters to sculptors to welders to painters and hundreds of volunteer labor,” Danielson said. “It takes a village.”

America’s Thanksgiving Parade steps off at 8:50 a.m.  at the corner of Woodward Ave. at Kirby and ends at Congress, just south of Campus Martius Park.


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