This year, Lakefair’s own float features peppy swing music and a whole lot of motion – much of it provided by the girls of the Lakefair Court.
“When they start dancing, the float really rocks,” said Stan Guyer, the president of Lakefair, the five-day festival that transforms Olympia from a quiet and quirky town to a place filled with rides, fireworks, jaywalkers and people wearing politically inspired T-shirts.
“You can see it bouncing up and down. They literally shake the float,” he added. “When all six girls are on the float, we have to tell them to kind of tone it down a little bit, just in case. We don’t want them to break the float.”
The float is one of 108 entries in the parade, which – along with Sunday’s fireworks and the political party burgers and the rides – is festival highlight. Eager paradegoers set out chairs well ahead of time along Capitol Way, and many families who live on the route host parties during the two-hour parade.
The Capitalarians estimate 12,000-14,000 people have been watching in recent years.
“On a good-weather day like we’re going to have, it will be up a little bit,” said Bob Barnes, Lakefair’s executive director. “That would be a fair estimation.”
The swinging float has already traveled to parades at nine other festivals, and it has taken the top prize five times.
Guyer chose the theme “Swing With Lakefair” and the upbeat music. “I wanted to have a float that had the kind of music that the court could really get into,” he said.
He credits the court’s enthusiasm for the float’s success, along with the hard work of the design committee and longtime volunteer Dennis Boone of Olympia, who does a lot of the construction and suggested the black-and-silver color scheme.
“Up front, there’s a silver figurine of a guy and a gal dancing,” Barnes said. “It’s on a big record, and it spins around as we’re going down the street.
“We have a big horn on the back and a bubble machine. The bubbles come out of the top of the horn,” he said. “Little kids love that.”
The music is the highlight, though.
“We have a huge sound system,” he said. “The music is outstanding. People love it.”
That includes the Capitalarians who walk along with the float. “We try to dance and get the crowd involved,” Barnes said.