By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
Decorate a parade float with whimsical sea creatures. Put a bluesy band on top. Recruit a crowd to dress up as jellyfish. Send the whole colorful, musical extravaganza down Everett’s Colby Avenue on the Fourth of July.
What do you have? A winner, that’s what.
“We had about 60 people involved in the float,” said Dennis Hacker, an artist who helped create the 2013 float and hauled it in the parade with his one-ton flatbed truck.
On Friday, 3231 Creatives — an arts venue at 3231 Broadway in Everett — will host a party called “Juxtamuse Equinox Showcase.” The public event, 3-9 p.m. Friday and $10 at the door, is more than a spring celebration. There will be live music performed by the Tommy Cook Trio, last year’s parade float band.
It’s a work party, too. Organizers hope to come up with ideas, donations and volunteers for this year’s parade float. Hacker won’t say if jellyfish will make a repeat appearance.
He has a big dream for this summer. Hacker hopes the 3231 Creatives float will not only be in Everett’s July 4 parade, but will also be entered in the Seafair Torchlight Parade July 26 in Seattle.
That will take some doing. In the Everett parade, a decorated vehicle is allowed to pull a float. For the Seafair Torchlight Parade, Hacker said, a vehicle can’t be visible. “The float has to appear to be gliding down the street,” he said. Organizers have about a month to submit parade applications for Seafair, he added.
The venue, 3231 Creatives, is run by James Lemmer and his wife Iris Lemmer in the building that once housed Crown Image, a film processing business. James Lemmer describes 3231 Creatives as “a social innovation project.” The nonprofit Sound ConneXions is a partner in 3231 Creatives, which has a gallery and provides space for art, sewing classes and other creative work. A luthier, or guitar maker, is one craftsman there.
“We started four years ago,” Lemmer said. “It’s not so much an art collective as it is a community of creative people. Some work together, some just rent space and do their stuff.” Lemmer said his work leans toward business rather than art. The float, he said, “is Dennis’s thing.”
Hacker, 64, is a retired Boeing worker who takes inspiration for his art from live music performances. “I usually paint and draw to live music. I go to shows or festivals. I’ll paint the show. I don’t sell them. I give them to performers, or offer them for fund-raisers,” Hacker said.
“He’s very supportive of musicians,” Lemmer said of Hacker. Last year’s parade float band, the Tommy Cook Trio, performs every Monday evening at Everett’s Madison Avenue Pub.
Hacker, who has been involved in Everett’s Lowell neighborhood, wants to again have a large group accompany the float. The same band will ride on it and play. “Once we do the Everett parade, we can plug in lights for the Torchlight,” he said.
Lisa Newland, the city of Everett’s cultural arts coordinator, said the “Submerse Yourself in Art” float was one of 85 entries in last summer’s parade. With the music, and a jellyfish entourage on foot, it was a crowd-pleaser. “I was on the back side of the parade route,” Newland said. When the 3231 Creatives float appeared, “everybody around kind of lit up,” she said.
Everett’s parade draws many local entries, and also those from around the region — among them the Clan Heather Dancers and the Rhythms of India. There are youth groups, Boy Scouts and Camp Fire, and singers from Everett’s Carl Gipson Senior Center. “The Jet City Rollergirls are always great. And eight drill teams give a nice beat to the parade,” said Newland, who is impressed by the precision of the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team.
“All the lodges, the Everett Eagles, Elks and VFW, are great,” Newland said. “We really try to make it a community event.”
The day of the Equinox party, spring will barely be here. For float makers, it’s almost summer.
“It does take planning and effort— and it all shows on the parade route,” Newland said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Party Friday to support parade float
An Everett arts venue, 3231 Creatives, will host the “Juxtamuse Equinox Showcase” on Friday to support and plan a parade float for the city’s 2014 July 4 Colors of Freedom Parade and perhaps for the Seafair Torchlight Parade. The public event is scheduled for 3-9 p.m. Friday at 3231 Creatives, which is at 3231 Broadway. The Tommy Cook Trio will perform at 5:01 p.m. Eric Rice, of the band Dirty Rice, will also perform. Ole Soul Southern Creole restaurant providing appetizers. Tickets: $9 at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/581775 or $10 at the door.