April Glasco, the founder of Second Chance Last Opportunity, wanted to get her nonprofit's message out.
What better way than building a float that would appear before thousands of spectators Nov. 11 at the annual Santa's Grand Arrival Parade that snakes down Cattlemen Road at the University Town Center?
But, of course, first it had to be built. They found a hauling trailer for the base and went to work.
"We started working, and it looked like a trailer," Glasco said with a laugh. "Then we got to the middle (of the process), and it still looked like a trailer.
"But three days ago, we added the purple to it, which is the color of our building."
The volunteers felt a sense of pride. They were ready.
"Everything was done by us," Glasco said. "It was hands-on. It was a lot of fun, … a team effort."
She said her nonprofit is an emergency crisis center and the message is about empowerment, and hope.
Other nonprofits had similar messages. April Barnes of Blaze of Hope said her nonprofit pays the bills to support children who have family members in the hospital. Besides the float they built, they were throwing out glow-in-the-dark bracelets.
Every inch of Cattlemen Road was packed with spectators, many who were waving glow sticks to add to the festive holiday season lighting all along the corridor. The event began with high-wire artist Nik Wallenda crossing high above Cattlemen Road to pass the 50-foot Christmas tree that flashed on when he arrived.
He ever-so-slowly maneuvered his long balance pole around the top of the tree, and finished his exhibition safely to a huge applause.
The parade was capped, of course, by Santa's arrival.