No Frolics Parade?!?!

Last year, the Milwaukee Makerspace participated in the South Shore Frolics Parade with a giant driving Arduino, a driving 10′ tall can of Old Milwaukee Makerspace beer and a fleet of power wheels racers. In short, it was a blast. I’ve lived in Bay View for the last 6 and a half years and a highlight every summer has been the Frolics Parade. For long-time Bay View Residents, the Parade has been a summer highlight for over 60 years. Being in the parade and producing such fun floats for it was more fun than i thought it would be and we immediately started scheming for the 2012 parade.

Milwaukee Makerspace
Giant Ardiuino
Little Pink Trike

This year, it doesn’t look like we’ll have a Frolics Parade, though. For the last few years, a corporate sponsor has footed the considerable bill for the parade. They are unable to do that again this year and the Bay View Lions Club is left without the funds for a parade.

David and I, along with several other Bay View neighbors have been working with the Lions Club to see if we can scramble to raise the funds for the parade. $13,000 is needed for the city and county alone to cover the permit, closed parking meters, re-routed buses, police officers and cleanup. Yow! I wasn’t aware that there was such a high starting bid for a parade. On top of that, many bands and groups require payment to travel and participate in the parade.

We quickly pulled together a website, voice mail and twitter account and a bunch of fliers to try to get the word out. David talked to every business from the White House to Hamburger Mary’s on KK last Saturday and had a lot of interest. We need to head back this weekend to see if we can secure any commitments from those businesses.

Members from the Milwaukee Makerspace have pledged $2,000 to kick things off, but we still have $20,000 to raise in almost no time. We’re giving it a week to follow up with Bay View businesses to see if we can arrange any commitments for funding.

If you love the Frolics Parade, ask your favorite Bay View Businesses if they are willing to help save the parade this year as you get a bite to eat, a cup of coffee, a haircut or a drink this week. If you have the means to make a significant donation yourself, please get in touch.

We’ve also thrown out a pretty cool incentive. For any group that donates $5,000, the Makerspace will build a float for you.

For donation and contact information for the parade, head over to the Save the Frolics Parade website at

Pot finally gets Gold!

 Tuesday night was time to paint the Pot O’ Gold!

The burlap covering soaked up the black paint. Brushes seemed to work better than rollers on the thick texture.

We also used some old pink foam insulation to cut into disks to make the coin shapes. Once that was done, we primed the coins to protect the foam, and then hit them with a coat of gold spray paint.


And here is a photo of the pot on the electric float base with the new gold coins on top!

It's a POT O' GOLD!

Pot ‘o’ Gold Lives!

Last night the gang all pulled together and got a prototype Pot ‘o’ Gold electric parade float up and running! TomG, as usual had all the scrap pieces we needed to put together a sweet little ride…

The green steel used in the frame apparently used to support a conveyor belt system in a factory someplace. TomG has bunches of it. The wheels and motors are from an old electric wheelchair that was scrapped. The batteries are old motorcycle batteries and the R/C motor controller was from an old battlebot.

We plan to replace the R/C motor controller with some sort of button or joystick driven motor controller. R/C was simply all that we had ready-to-go that evening.

The hope is to create a series of small vehicles like this, bolt some themed fiber-glass shells on top of the frame and enter the vehicles in parades to showcase the awesome pool of talent we have in the Milwaukee Makerspace and hopefully attract some more members. Our initial target is the Milwaukee St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 13th. We’re hopeful the organizers will enjoy pots of gold driven by leprechauns who hand out gold foil wrapped chocolates to spectators.