Prepping for the Parade: Behind the making of a float

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GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- With the National Cherry Festival soon coming to an end, work for the DTE Energy crew is just heating up.

“I did it last year too," said DTE employee John Bleich. "This is the first year for this new float though.”

Bleich works out of DTE's Traverse City office, and this week he’s taking time away from his day to day job to work on the company's float.

“I try to volunteer every year because it’s fun to do," Bleich said. "It’s cool to say ‘hey, I helped build a float.”
“We just say 'hey who wants to be help build the float,' and we always get more than enough people," said Giovanni Loria, who is the Corporate Sponsorship Manager at DTE. Every other year the company designs a float for the Cherry Royal Parade, each with a different design.
“This particular year we’re kinda talking about the whole dream, create and build theme,” Loria said

The float is made specifically for the Cherry Royale parade, but not without some help.

“Hundreds of floats, over 40 years yes," said longtime float builder Ralph Skinner. Skinner spent years as Art Director with The Parade Company, and now works as a consultant for the company. While The Parade Company's main focus is the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade, they we're hired by DTE to work on their float for the Cherry Royale Parade.

“We like Traverse City because of the crowds," Skinner said. "It’s nice when the crowds are really thick and deep and dense, and the kids and everyone loves the parade."

While the float takes four days to build and four months to design, Loria says being part of tradition and the community makes it all worth it.

“We're just showing ‘hey were apart of the community, and we're committed to this region,’" Loria said.