WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Many Fiesta Bowl activities take place in the Valley of the Sun in the days leading up to the Fiesta Bowl football game. One of the most popular events is the Fiesta Bowl Parade. One of the floats weaving along through the Fiesta Bowl Parade route will be a city of Williams themed float. Members of the Williams High School (WHS) art class and art club created and designed the float.
Thousands of people will line the streets of central Phoenix on Dec. 29 to enjoy the Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. The parade begins at 11 a.m. on Central Avenue, just north of Montebello Avenue.
Nearly 100 entries will partake in the Fiesta Bowl Parade, including floats, bands, balloons, equestrian, honorary participants, and specialty groups. The parade's Grand Marshal is U.S. Olympic gold medalist swimmer Missy Franklin.
Art teacher, art club sponsor, and The Gallery in Williams employee Lisa Noble is leading the talented group of youngsters as they build the Williams float completely from scratch.
"We're doing icons of Williams, so to speak," said Noble. "Bill Williams Mountain, a ponderosa pine tree, on the corner of the float will be Route 66 signs, we're building the Grand Canyon with trails and the Colorado River running through it, the Gateway to the Grand Canyon arch, and of course the train."
Noble said float entries are not allowed to have anything commercial on them, so no Bearizona logos or anything similar will adorn the Williams float.
The float is mostly made of paper mache. Noble said students are completing finishing touches and last minute additions this week to really "make it sparkle." The group began working on the float right before Halloween and has been tirelessly building, painting, gluing, cutting and constructing ever since.
Noble said the Grand Canyon took the longest to build.
"We kind of designed it so that from whatever angle you look at it you're going to see something interesting," Noble said, adding that nothing is to scale though otherwise people wouldn't be able to see all the details.
One of those details is a pack of small toy horses that the art students are transforming into mules by attaching paper mache ears. The mules will walk down a Grand Canyon trail.
According to Noble, when the opportunity to create a Williams float for the Fiesta Bowl Parade came to the city, the Williams Chamber of Commerce offered it to the art students of WHS. The chamber provided them with money, donations and their full support.
Noble said the Williams Food Bank gave her cardboard, the library gave her old newspapers and community members and businesses donated chicken wire and other much-needed supplies.
Arizona Public Service (APS) will take the float and its trailer to Phoenix this Friday. A committee will judge floats on Dec. 28, the day before the parade.
The Fiesta Bowl Parade is free, however reserved seating tickets are $25 each ($10 for reserved disabled seating). Tickets may be purchased online from the Fiesta Bowl Ticket Office at www.fiestabowl.org or by calling (480) 350-0911.