Community float receives top award for second straight year

Sumner Downtown AssociationApril 16, 2014 

The 2014 Sumner Community Float received the Daffodil Festival Grand Floral Parade’s Grand Sweepstakes Award for the second consecutive year. The float celebrated Sumner’s popular trail system.


The dimly lit, tight confines of the float barn can make it a challenge when you try to build a float for any parade. Add a dozen people or more, surround them with a multitude of props, and the space becomes smaller still.

Transforming a well-used float base into a parade float with 18,000 freshly cut daffodils and 2,000 tulips can be a daunting task — even for the most experienced float builders.

With each yard of chicken wire, thousands of staples and the installation of electric devices to create movement out of one of the props, it’s a happy but sometimes chaotic process until the product is complete.

Tracy Critchley and Theresa Haase, both REI employees, have done this before. The two have been part of the float design and building process for the past four years. As co-chairs, they worked hard to create a cohesive float team that worked together to build an award-winning float.

The Daffodil Festival Parade is “the” parade for which the Sumner Downtown Association looks forward to each spring. An extra effort is made to design and build the perfect float as the team strives to ensure it is the most positive reflection of Sumner.

After 270 hours of volunteer labor to build and decorate the float, 228 total hours of volunteer time during the parade itself, loaned vehicles and trucks to transport flowers and parade participants, all efforts resulted in the honor of being selected the Daffodil Festival’s Grand Sweepstakes Award winner for the second straight year.

The Sumner community float, managed by the Sumner Downtown Association, was not your typical Daffodil Parade float. The 2014 design was more reflective of an era gone by, giving it a more nostalgic feel.

The Sumner community float depicted one of the many Sumner bike trails tucked between fields of spring daffodils and tulips. Giving the illusion of movement along the trail were two secured bikes whose riders were seen enjoying a leisurely ride beneath the watchful guard of Mount Rainier.

In reflection of the Daffodil Festival’s theme, “Ready, Set, Grow,” the Sumner community float team selected the bike trail because it has been a growing part of the community for several years.

With that in mind, the float theme was “Live, Play and Grow in Sumner!”

Besides the float work, other entities must come together to ensure the float build is a success. Knutson Farms, in partnership with the Puyallup Valley Flower Co-Op, provided all the beautiful daffodils and tulips that covered our float. Roger Knutson and Roger Moorehouse were instrumental as they put together the 42 boxes of flowers needed to cover our float.

Next, we needed a means of transporting the flowers to the Tacoma float barn the night before the parade. John Pistilli of Washington Marble Works and community member Dan Haisch offered the use of their trucks during the process.

We often are asked how everyone gets from one parade to the next. Sunset Chevrolet graciously provided a new Chevy Tahoe so we could safely and comfortably transport our parade participants to each stop.

Lori Stein, mother of co-chair Theresa Haase, not only provided her van on parade day, she served as chauffeur as well.

Certainly, we could not have been a parade participant without a great driver to keep the float in line and moving. The SDA welcomed Darren Kriel and Eric Balstad, who took turns driving the float during parade day.

Additionally, we thank Jon Swanson for advising our new drivers on the ins and outs of our float.

We owe a big thank you to siblings Hailey and Logan Windish, who volunteered to tow our broken down float through Sumner and Orting while their youngest sister, Sage, carried our banner.

Special thanks to Ron and Jacque Haines of NAPA Auto of Sumner for providing parts to repair our float. We also thank Starbucks of Sumner for providing two boxes of hot chocolate for our staff on the morning of the parade.

The greatest effort comes from the many volunteers who worked tirelessly to create and build a truly beautiful float. We thank Scott Thompson and his Sumner High School Key Club students, and Jennie Holstrom and the Sumner High School Honor Society students.

Other volunteers included Tracy Critchley, Theresa Haase, Quinn Balstad, Tracey Frost, Daryl Vessey, John and Carla Pistilli, Sophia Pistilli, Gianna Wagner, Debi Davio, Jacob Stein, Travis Augustyn, Caitlin Rask, Jordanna Shank, Lori Stein, Sumner’s Daffodil Princess, Kaetlyn Brown, Cyndi and Sicily Johnson, Becky Bay, Lillian Bryan and Laura Metzler.

We apologize for anyone we might have overlooked.

Laurie Miller: 253-891-4260

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