We were honored and excited when Jennifer Crutchfield invited youth from Glass Street to participate in this year’s Mainx24 parade with the Wayne-O-Rama float! Building on the momentum from getting kids involved in our Glass Street LIVE parade, the popular Main Street event on Chattanooga’s Southside felt like a natural next move in the fun, rolicking dance. Michael McCamish carefully protected and re-distributed the folk art puppets created together with Colleen Laliberte and Glass Street kids last September.
Spreading the bright puppets out along the parade float made it already feel like a celebration on the cold December morning. All that was missing were the kids to bring the shapes to life, waving and dancing to the jazz music pumped out at the front of our procession. Everyone agreed that the presence of the Glass Street kids carrying the large waving puppets alongside and aboard the float brought out the true artistic spirit Wayne White channels as he develops playful, often irreverent renderings of historical events and figures out of cardboard, wood, fabric, and paint.
Nikki Lewis and Ryan Keller recruited 17 youth to carpool from Glass Street early Saturday morning December 3rd, to kick off the morning at the pancake breakfast at the Main Street Fire Hall. That’s where the kids snapped a photo with Mayor Andy Berke and played on the row of Chattanooga Bikes.
The group gathered for the parade kick off at Jefferson Park, then proceeded over to Main Street, waving, dancing, and throwing candy to the hundreds of spectators. Block Leaders Janette Richie and Glenda Welcher each carried puppet hands to wave along the route, and enjoyed the experience thoroughly.
Following the parade, kids helped carry their puppets back to storage, and had a few minutes to admire Wayne’s giant sculpture of Lookout Mountain before heading next door for fruit and biscuits at The Well, as part of the local Southside church’s courtesy breakfast tradition for Mainx24 parade participants.