2008 ushered in a new era for the float design and the build team. We had abandoned ARTMUSIClife as a ‘theme’ but wanted to float again. We found ourselves sitting outside of Napper Tandy’s (or was it Ri Ra) on an unusually warm Sunday afternoon at the Parade fundraiser and discussed the need for a ‘real’ or ‘better’ theme for our efforts. Somewhere around a second or third pint of Guinness the brain trust that was present determined “Gilligan’s Island” or rather “Save Gilligan’s Island” was our next float concept.
The story was going to be simple – we were concerned that high definition TV was going to take Gilligan’s Island off the air. I am guessing our parade ‘protest’ wouldn’t have changed things if the show was really going to disappear but details like that are largely ignored. No one gets closer to the float that 20ft anyway is what we always claim. So we built the S.S. Minnow and a Tiki bar in the style of Gilligan’s Island and planned to set sail on the parade route. Encouraging all that saw us to Save Gilligan’s Island – we even created a small website for the event.
We had most of the characters from the cast but as luck would have it one that decided to become particularly relevant the week before the parade. Dawn Wells, the actress who played Mary Ann was arrested on charges of marijuana possession. The focus went from the dangers of losing a classic to rescuing one of America’s sweethearts. We rolled with the punches and our two Mary Anns on the float donned handcuffs for the occasion. This resulted in several concerned parade goers inquiring about the purchase of illicit substances from the Mary Anns.
We survived another year and in the process learned a lot about the design of a wood and cardboard based float. This was our most elaborate and durable design to date and incorporated a one person boat with a full-size tiki bar. It was definitely a departure from where we had been previously and a sign of more elaborate designs yet to come.