Friday, January 4, 2013

Citrus Bowl Parade

On December 29th, I got up at 8AM to get downtown to sketch the Citrus Bowl Parade as it formed. The sky was grey, and as I drove downtown it started to rain. Walking from my suburban parking spot, I passed a church charging $5 to park in their lot. As I got near the Courthouse, it began to pour. My wind breaker stopped most of the rain but my jeans got soaked. Hundreds of girl scouts were huddled in the courthouse overhangs. I considered sketching some military vehicles, but by the time I got my sketchbook out of my bag, the rain stopped and the drivers jumped in the jeeps and drove off.

Far in the distance I saw the Citrus Floats parked down by the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. I walked down to the corner of Hughey and sketched the floats. They were the exact same floats I sketched last year. I believe they rubber band the fruit to the floats in the parking lot of what used to be the Amway Arena. A Shriner in a tiny Model A buzzed past me on the way to the parade route. When the floats are not in use, they are stored by the Citrus Bowl. You can see their naked skeletons from the East West Expressway. Then added a bright splash of color being covered in yellow grapefruits and oranges. As I sketched, it started to rain again and I retreated under the I-4 overpass.

Someone asked me where the parade route was and I pointed him to Orange Avenue. I realized he must have considered me an authority since I was wearing a NYC police cap. Terry called to let me know she had come to the parade and she was parked at her office. I finished the sketch and walked to the parade route. It began to pour again. I huddled near the Bank of America building and then darted to an overhang near a pizzeria. A little boy splashed in a curbside puddle. Someone walking by under an umbrella said, "He's got the right idea." The boys mom shouted out, "Stop standing in the puddle, you'll get sick!" Defiant, the boy shouted back, "I won't get sick." The parade started. Marching bands took formation and marched by. The color guard girls flags were soaked and heavy. The high winds made it close to impossible for them to spin the flags. They laughed as they tried. The girl scouts walked past with their clear ponchos billowing violently in the wind. A large gust caused all the girl scouts to scream.

The Roadrunner Shriners in their tiny but very loud go-carts spun in circles on the rain soaked pavement. I was afraid they might spin out of control into the crowds on the sidewalk. They were having a blast in the rain. The marching band from the University of Nebraska marched past, with the brass and drums extra loud. The cheerleaders with their red and white pom-poms shouted out, "Go Huskers!" I ordered two slices of pizza and sat at an outdoor table to continue watching the parade. Terry met me at the Pizzeria. There was a large pile of Mardi Gras beads on the table I was sitting at. The pile of beads were all knotted together and Terry got to work trying to undo the knot. When the parade had passed, she continued working on the complex task. I watched the people migrating back to their cars. When the rain slowed to a drizzle, I made my way back to my car and she walked back to her office.

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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