This, folks, is what a first-place entry in the Highland Lake Fourth of July Annual Boat Parade looks like.
And further on down is what a ridiculous man with a tinfoil-covered cardboard box/faux helm looks like.
During my family's recent July 4 vacation we put together the above float and managed to win first place in the boat parade, taking home $50 and more importantly the Highland Lake Protective Agency first place banner for another year. It's hanging proudly in our lakeside cottage now.
Camelot, I'm proud to say, was an invention wholly my own (shocking, the theme I chose!) I got all of the boxes for the castle walls free from Wal-Mart, and had only to buy five cans of spray paint, a few items at the party store, and a plastic sword, shield, and greaves. A few other props I had kicking around at home, including the viking helmet and axe. All told it cost me just under $50, so I earned about $1.50 from our epic victory over the 6-7 other boats who had the temerity to compete against such an awesome and threatening float.
I built the walls and cut out and decorated the shields on the side of the boat, and also constructed my awe-inspiring helm. My crew pictured above helped assemble the final product and added a few touches of their own. My favorite was my fellow warrior, Greg, who fashioned his helmet from a empty 12-pack cardboard container of Bud Light. Notice the "old queens" in the back with their chalices, my two daughters in the castle tower who posed as princesses in dire need of rescue, and the drawbridge in front.
But neither big cash prizes nor fame motivated us to enter. I'll leave it to you to imagine the fun we had parading around the lake perimeter in our boat, shouting, "We're the knights of the round table!" "Camelot!" "Hail to King Arthur and his old queens!" etc., etc. to all the cheering spectators on shore. It was sheer awesome.