Let me start by saying that last year around this time Rich Peterson and his crew in maintenance decided that it would be fun for Morey’s to have a float in some of the local Christmas parades since we already had a trailer and lots of rides, etc. Well, I won’t go into the details of last year, just let it be known that in the end we had a lot of fun and a new tradition was born.
Which brings me to my point. This year we formed a “parade committee” to try to get more associates involved (which is a good thing). The only draw back with committees is that from them come LOTS of great ideas, and before we knew it, this thing had grown into a monster, a nice friendly monster, but a monster nonetheless. With it came a budget and a time line, thinking this would be the most efficient way to get things done, and still be able to do our “other” jobs. Now the thing about time lines is that they generally don’t go on schedule even though that is actually the idea behind having one in the first place. So, that all being said, I will share our experience preparing for the first of two parades that we are doing this year by showing the timeline.
• Tim and Kristel buy candy to give out at the parades (in the morning)
• (Later that day) we finally find a place to store hundreds of pounds of candy
• Shopping trip with Tim to buy decorations: I went with him simply to make sure he didn’t blow the entire budget on decorations (he sometimes needs his hand held)
• After removing several dozen items from the cart (it was like shopping with your children who keep trying to sneak stuff into the cart), we return to the Pier and finally locate yet another storage place, this time for the decorations.
• Phone call from Tim: “I can’t find the trailer!” The plan was to start on Thanksgiving weekend getting the electrical stuff done, etc. so we could decorate later. (There is so much more to this parade float thing than meets the eye).
• We locate the trailer. (Note: it took us 3 days to find it). It’s a pretty big thing to lose, keep in mind we are talking about a 20-foot trailer… but if anyone can do it, we can.
• The trailer is now safely in our Coaster/Paint Shop on the former Hunt’s Pier (indoors where there is heat, because last year we worked on it out in the cold.
• The other thing to keep in mind is that the first parade (West Cape May) is on Saturday…the 1st…4 days from now!
• Rich and his crew place the Kiddie Train that we have decided to use this year (our theme is Beach Express) on the trailer
• Tim and Kristel go down there to take a look before the guys bolt the thing down (this is because last year we had them move the rides around so many times, they weren’t going to risk it again.. Rich said he felt like a “piano mover”)
• Rich gets the ride secured to the trailer; now this may sound simple, but it isn’t, it requires big blocks of wood and giant screws and bolts and lots of manpower, not to mention catering to the whims of our very creative Tim (hence the “piano mover” feeling). That’s the best I can do to describe it, since I didn’t watch, so suffice it to say, it’s a really big job!
• So now we are finally ready to decorate! Again, sounds simple? Well nothing is easy when Tim is being creative. Garland and lights first have to be intertwined, and we are talking many, many feet of garland and lights for the float, and the truck that pulls the float, and the truck that follow the float. The skirting that we bought has to be fitted and hooks and things to hold the skirting have to be placed around the float. Hundreds of feet of wiring are meticulously laid out for lighting and sound. So here we are starting at 5PM, Kristel, Dino, Tim and I in the paint shop putting this thing together. Of course, Dino, in keeping with the Morey’s quest to be known as the cleanest park in the world, spent several hours cleaning and polishing the train! That’s our Dino!
• Tim (left to his own devices) goes shopping (forgot a few things), and he comes back with yet more stuff because he had some brilliant idea while shopping (he’s like that).
• Well anyway, to make a long story longer…that was an early night, ending at about 9 PM when Kristel and I decided that we needed to go out to eat dinner.
• Tim goes shopping (I’m not sure which genius gave him a credit card, but I am not taking responsibility for him).
• I, fortunately, have a dinner to go to and can’t stay to help work on the float (no, we’re not done yet). So Kristel works with Tim…until midnight…when she quits and they go home. I don’t know what they worked on, I wasn’t there, and wasn’t really listening when they told me.
• The parade is tomorrow and we still aren’t ready. I won’t bore you with the details of what had yet to be done (I know you’re thinking it’s too late)…mostly because I don’t really want to relive it and partly because by the time we finished with this float we were slightly brain damaged from inhaling the fumes in the Paint shop for hours on end. (I had always wondered why the guys in the paint shop are so happy all the time). We did find out on Saturday morning that there is actually an exhaust system that they forgot to tell us about (HMMM…)
• So Tim and I start working shortly after noon. We worked until 5:30 when I had to go pick up my kid and go to the high school play.
• Tim went…you guessed it…more retail therapy for Tim.
• I came back to Hunt’s Pier and the Paint Shop at 9:30 (after the school thing) to continue the mission along with Tim.
• Well, at about 1:00 AM, after drinking way too much coffee, I needed to make a pit stop, so to speak…. I am telling you this because this requires going outside to the next building, which is located next to the old Golden Nugget Mine Ride, and which is a little eerie in the winter even in the daylight! You can imagine in the middle of the night, in the dark, with the cold winter wind blowing off of the ocean! Let’s just say I was quick about it.
• Now, fast forward to 3:00 AM – we could simply not stand up anymore and decided that there was only about another hours worth of work to do and we could do it in the morning;
12/1 – THE BIG DAY
• I set my alarm for 9:00 AM (after getting to bed at 4:00AM it really wasn’t enough). I call Tim to wake him up as requested. My daughter and I make a quick stop at Wawa for coffee and food at 10:30 on our way back to Wildwood and Morey’s Piers at which time I call Tim to see if he needs anything (like coffee) only to find he didn’t actually get out of bed when I called the first time.
• So we arrive at the sign shop (also on Hunt’s, in the maintenance facilities offices) to finish up with the printing of giant postcards, lettering for skirting, signs for the train, etc. I will not be mentioning here why there was actually a lot more than the “hour” of work we thought we had left.
• So at 3:00 begins the long, slow trek over to West Cape May from Wildwood with the float and 2 trucks for the line-up at 4:00 – the parade starts at 5:00 (yeah, right!).
Now, by this time you are thinking that we are perhaps the most organized, prepared group of people ever to participate in a parade. Well, don’t. We’re not.
We get there, fasten all of the meticulously prepared decorations to the float and trucks, only to find out that we have 2 problems. Whoever was responsible for bringing the mascots (I won’t name names), forgot to bring their shoes. I was informed that one cannot have a seagull and a french-fry without shoes, and Tim forgot to bring the power cable for the sound (which means no music, not good). Now, the police department has already closed off the streets all around the parade area and we have Celia on her way with the missing shoes, and it’s already 5 minutes to five!
Soooo….. Celia manages to drive about 5 miles out of her way as a roundabout means of arriving at the float and, saves the day! The parade starts at 5:00, but we are #153 in the line-up and don’t actually start moving until almost 6:00, but the important thing here is that we did move and the parade was great fun for all of us and by this time next year we will have forgotten all about the week we just had, and we will yet again be excited about being in the parade.
We are very much looking forward to the Wildwood Parade on December 14th. Mostly because we are ready.
P.S. After returning all of the stuff that Tim bought that we didn’t actually need, we managed to stay within the budget, if you can imagine.
See the end result…it was worth it!
Angel Daniels, Public Relations Manager