Saturday, January 7, 2012

Citrus Floats

I spent an afternoon searching for the spot where volunteers rubber band thousands of citrus fruits onto wire meshes to create the floats for what was formerly the Citrus Bowl Parade. The new name of the parade is the "Fresh from Florida Parade." I heard volunteers would be working feverishly at the old Amway Arena. I went there assuming the floats would be inside the Arena. I was surprised to see that the Arena was surrounded by chain link fencing and it is considered a construction site. lt turns out the Arena is being demolished to make way for a Creative Village. The interior is now being demolished, and the building is slated to be rigged with explosives and will implode in March of 2012. I walked around the fenced in Arena. A security guard in the parking lot asked if I was going to the game. "No." I replied. "I'm looking for volunteers working of floats." He directed me to the opposite side of the Arena. A huge crowd was gathered in a line going through a security check point. They were being scanned for explosives by the Department of Homeland Security and local police. "This is a rather big fuss for a few floats." I thought. This turned out to be parking for the college football game happening at the Citrus Bowl. People had to go through security before getting on a bus to the Bowl Game.

I hiked down to the new Amway Center searching for floats as well. No luck. I visited Terry at her downtown office and she located a press release online. It turned out the floats would be at the Amway Arena the next day. At least I got plenty of exercise. So the next day, I hiked to the Arena and I could see the bright orange and yellow citrus peaking through the foliage around the parking lot from a block away. I settled under a shady oak and sketched. I had expected more floats. Volunteers were still securing fruit to the wire mesh with rubber bands but the floats looked pretty complete. The construction had occurred for two days at the Convention Center. They were then driven to the Arena for final touch up before the parade the next day. I wondered what roads they must have driven. Did they scream up I-4 at 55 miles per hour? Wouldn't the citrus bounce off causing a catastrophic citrus pile up? More than likely they took side roads creating a minor traffic back up.

As I was finishing up the sketch, someone drove away in a golf cart to get dinner for the volunteers. The sun blazed warmer as it moved towards the horizon making the oranges even more orange as the shadows lengthened.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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