Floating away with the competition


Float designers vying for fifth win in local parade competition

By Christie Barlow
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Red, white and blue glitter covers the garage that’s home to David Medlin’s truck for 11 months of the year.

Every June for the past four years, David’s truck is pushed aside to make way for construction of Laura Medlin and Anita Haskin’s Fourth of July float. Laura and Anita build the float Harrisburg Presbyterian Church enters in the Harrisburg Fourth of July parade. 

The women enter the most patriotic division of the float competition. 

In the last four years, the ladies have taken the top prize three out of four years, finishing second the year they didn’t win.

“It’s all for fun,” Medlin said.

“Winning is a plus because the money helps to fund the float for next year,” Haskins said. “It’s just a bonus to be able to win.”

There are several reasons that Medlin and Haskins work on the float each year. They participate because the kids at the church love seeing what they come up with and enjoy riding in the parade. Most importantly, they participate to let people know about Harrisburg Presbyterian Church. 

Both Medlin and Haskins are members of the church and consider the float a way to reach people. In addition, the church offers the use of its facilities during the Fourth of July celebration.

About a month before the Fourth of July, the duo begins brainstorming ideas about what they want to create for the parade. Once they have their idea, they dive right in.

Their husbands take care of construction and making sure the float will function once its put together, and the ladies design, paint and provide the rest of the decorating on the float.

Themes in the past have included everything from a giant cake and banner saying “Happy birthday USA” to a huge eagle and giant Uncle Sams. This year’s theme is the military, but that’s all Medlin and Haskins will say about the float. They like to keep what they’re actually going to do a secret, Medlin said.

“We’re basing it on soldiers and the military,” Haskins said. “We have an idea of what we want and we’re making it come together. We have to figure out how to make a soldier without it being an actual person.”

Medlin and Haskins are getting help this year from Jacob Sigler, a member of their church. Sigler has ridden on the floats before and has always looked forward to seeing what Medlin and Haskins would come up with.

“It’s going good,” said Sigler, who is helping with sanding and construction. “I like knowing what we’re going to do and seeing how the younger kids like the float so much.”

Medlin, Haskins and Sigler will work on the float just about every night up until the day of the parade on July 4 at 9 a.m. 

The float won’t really come together until the days just before the parade when all the pieces are put on the float.

“We expect a lot,” Haskins said. “We always want to make it the best we can; we want to have a good reputation for the church. We’ve done it enough that we know it will all come together at the end.”

• Contact Christie Barlow at [email protected] or 704-789-9140.

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