Parade preparation pays off

Student-made floats parade through Lexington, kicking off the first day of Mock Convention sessions.

Lilah Kimble, ’23
Montana delegates wave flags atop their float. Photo by Lilah Kimble, ’23.

Community members filled the streets of Lexington this morning for Washington and Lee’s Mock Convention Parade.

The parade is in preparation for a weekend-long convention hosting prominent speakers and ending with a prediction of the Democratic candidate for the 2020 election. Student-made floats for each of the 57 delegations paraded through downtown.

Spectators included Lexington residents, parents, students and professors. State themed floats took all shapes and sizes and were complemented by students in creative costumes.

“This morning I got up at 7 a.m., ran up four flights of stairs and helped tie my friend’s hair back and put her wig cap on so she could dress up like Bernie Sanders for the Vermont float,” Natasha Gengler, ‘22, said.

Bernie Sanders wasn’t the only candidate to appear on the floats. Several delegations incorporated costumes or signs involving the candidates. Nate Abercrombie, ‘20, the state chair for Delaware, said their float’s theme was ‘Biden crossing the Delaware.’

“Our float was designed to look like a boat,” he said. “We had founding father wigs, oars from the Outing Club and a Biden cutout.”

Lilah Kimble, ’23
Utah delegates hold up signs about the Democratic candidates.

Other costumes included ‘Wizard of Oz’ characters on the Kansas float and a student dressed as Elvis on the Nevada float.

Some delegations included interactive elements to their parade, like handing out stickers or singing songs. The float for the Guam delegation included a working hot tub.

“I thought Idaho was fun because they were throwing potatoes,” Danika Brockman, ‘21, said.

The parade began at BrewBaker Field and ended at the Woods Creek Apartments, mainly taking place on South Main Street.

Brainstorming for the parade began months ago for most students, with only one night for float construction.

It was all hands on deck for delegations at BrewBaker Field on Thursday, Feb. 13, the night before the parade. Students executed their float designs under the parking lot lights as the sun went down.

Lilah Kimble, ’23
A student dressed as Elvis on the Las Vegas themed Nevada float.

Some delegations used this time to work out all of the kinks at the last minute.

“Oklahoma’s float was supposed to have a kiddie pool filled with chili, but we’ll see whether or not we have to leave the chili in the cans,” Emily Symonds, ‘22 said. “If we can pour it out, I think we’ll be in the running for best float.”

The parade drew spectators from all over the country. Toby Goodlett came from Columbia, South Carolina, to stay for the entire weekend.

“I came here to watch my daughter,” he said. “My favorite float is Montana because that is the one she is in.”

Mayor Frank Friedman said he thought the floats were very clever.

“[The best part] is the whole community coming together to support it,” he said.

Erin Dringman, ‘20, was part of the American Samoa delegation, which didn’t have a trailer, but dressed up as dancing tuna. She said they made up for the lack of a float with singing songs like ‘Under the Sea’ and songs from ‘Moana.’

“The spirit of the parade and of Mock Con as a whole reminded me and my friends and everyone that we interacted with that the best thing about W&L is the bizarre but wonderful experiences we get to have together,” she said. “The Mock Con parade felt like W&L’s equivalent of a big game day.”