While the idea of creating a parade float seems fun, the reality involves some hard work and cooperation. Look for a few people skilled in carpentry, another small group with crafting skills and another two to three people with creative design ideas. Set up an initial brainstorming session with the creative group and come up with a float design. Show the design to the crafters and carpenters and ask for each group to provide a list of necessary supplies. Gather supplies and organize two to three work sessions to complete the float.
Place a gigantic papier-mache softball in the center of the float for a simple parade project. A papier-mache project works well when the softball team has younger children. Each player can contribute one or more boxes of tin foil, and everyone scrunches their foil until the result is a ball measuring 4 to 6 feet high and 5 to 6 feet wide. Cover the foil ball with papier-mache and paint softball stitches once the ball dries.
For a more challenging project, use chicken wire to create the frame for a large baseball cap. Cover the cap with papier-mache and paint the hat in your team's colors. Lay the papier-mache project on an artificial grass carpet. A large cardboard box (from a fridge or other appliance) painted in team colors makes an easy stand for a large softball centered on the float. Nail the box to the wagon and secure the ball with heavy-duty glue. If candy throwing is allowed, leave a hole in the ball and fill with candy to throw to the crowd.
Miniature Softball Field
Landscape a large farm wagon with a miniature pitcher's mound on an artificial grass carpet. Lay one softball base at the tail end of the wagon and another bag on the pitching mound set opposite. The team's pitcher or players, dressed in team uniforms, can take turns standing on the mound. Another player stands on the other base with a bat in hand. For an added touch, play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on a boombox. For the pitching mound, create a chicken wire dome about 3 feet tall at the highest point. Papier-mache the dome and paint the mound brown. Lay the dome over a step stool or another elevated stand able to handle the weight of a single player.
Mascot and Bleachers
Attach a small set of metal bleachers, 4 to 5 feet high, on a wagon with artificial grass turf nailed to the wagon's floor. Decorate the sides of the bleachers and wagon with garland matching the team's colors. Print out 2-by-3-foot photos of the team's starting lineup at a local copy shop. Attach the photos to the three visible sides of the wagon's edges. Have "fans" sit on the bleachers holding inflatable bats, hot dogs, popcorn and large letters spelling out the team's name. Dress up a team mascot to stand next to the bleachers and get the parade crowd to cheer. Bleacher fans must look devoted by wearing team colors and face paint. Players dressed in team uniforms can sit along the three visible edges of the wagon waving to the parade crowd.
Jennifer Marlowe is a seasoned journalist with experience since 1994. As a former reporter and columnist, she has written for a variety of publications including "The Cleveland Plain Dealer," "Sew Simple Magazine," "Northern Ohio Live," "Ohio Game & Fish" and "The Country's Best Log Homes." Marlowe holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Akron.