I've have had the opportunity to help create a few floats or other parade entries for the Chicago Gay Pride Parade. While pride parades began with more political motivators, they have evolved/devolved into a spectacle celebration that dare participants to be as flamboyant or ridiculous as possible. I'm not here to judge- it's work for me, and can be a lot of fun- especially in the case of this glitzed up ice cream truck concept I conceived for Crobar nightclub. Foremost, wanted it to be bright, colorful and fun- something that would make people smile. I also wanted a deeper inspection to reveal a much more adult aspect to it- all in good fun. The last thing I want to do is offend- and the audience for the parade, includes a great deal of families with children, so any entry should be considerate of that on some level. I think this entry hit the nail on the head and became the most talked about entry that year. Patrons and the press ate it up! Here's how it was built:
First, a stepvan had to be sourced. The budget was relatively small, so at first I tried renting one. When that failed to be cost effective, I sourced an inexpensive used van that could be sold afterward for much less than renting options. It was a bit larger than I'd wanted, but the larger scale worked with the larger graphics and details that would be added to it.
The design process included a great deal of time creating graphics for faux ice cream novelties, which all appear cute and innocent on initial inspection, but further inspection reveals how naughty and silly they are. One was specific to the main promoter of the party the float was advertising. I think some of the novelties flew over the heads of some adults, too!
The truck received a touch up of white paint, then a stripe of fuschia Sparklene, a glitter adhesive film, as well as chromed highlights. Plastic vacum formed mirror ball halves were used as hub caps.
Because this was a step van, not a food truck, a faux window vinyl decal was added to each side panel.
Plastic Ice cream cone banks were added to each rear-view mirror. Amusement/carnival style lights were added down each side which were running a chasing effect.
Additional LED strip lighting under the truck, and elsewhere was added because the truck was used during the evenings to promote the event, in addition it's use in the parade.
The soundtrack was created with midi versions of popular dance pop songs using 8 bit electronic instruments to replicate the incredibly low-fi sound of an ice cream truck P.A. system. Selections included tracks from Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Britney Spears and were intercut with humorous quips from "the driver".
The giant popsicle built for the rooftop had a tube run through it connected to a large tank of liquid nitrogen to blast out of it during the parade.
Ice pops were branded with stickers promoting the event and offering a discount. Although they had been in an ice freezer for an entire week, the 4-5000 of them had not dropped in temperature enough to freeze. We had an extra dewar of nitrogen which we carefully emptied into the freezer and hoped for the best. Thankfully, it worked and we had actual ICE pops to hand out the next afternoon.
The participants for the parade wore a uniform I designed to be reminiscent of a soda fountain jerk, but much more fun.
All extra electric for the vehicle was run from a generator at the rear of the truck, which was left open while a thick fuschia metallic slit curtain hid the contents of the van.