Just what does it take to construct a float for the Lodi Parade of Lights?
A lot of elbow grease, several hours breathing cold air from the Lodi fog and trying to come up with something that coincides with this year's parade theme, "Home for the Holidays — Celebrating Family."
Jaime Watts, a Youth Commission adviser, said she met with commissioners Allison Schatz and Dipa Patel, both Lodi High School students, and they came up with the idea for a living room, complete with furniture, Christmas tree and a fireplace.
On Sunday afternoon, Schatz, Patel and two other commissioners, Lauren Youngsma and Kristen Schlader, placed two couches, two chairs and the tree onto a truck. They also strung holiday lights all over the float and put ornaments on the tree.
Also participating in the Youth Commission float are Alvin Costa, who owns a kettle corn business, and Amy Ming, who works with Costa.
Members of the Greater Lodi Youth Commission were busy Sunday afternoon putting together a float in time for Thursday's Parade of Lights through Downtown Lodi.
"This year, I really want to make it worth watching," said Allison Schatz, a Lodi High senior who was part of the float-making project last year with the Youth Commission.
So how does one make a float?
First, you get a generous donor who will let you use their flatbed truck. That came from Joe Martin Hay Hauling. It was on his Jahant Road ranch that the truck was decorated and slowly started looking like a living room.
Then they borrowed the furniture from New and Again Furniture, a Lodi consignment shop, and brought some lights and garland from home. The finished product on Thursday will also have some rugs to make it look even more like a real living room, Watts said.
On Thursday, eight commissioners and a couple of advisers will be on the float singing Christmas carols and eating kettle corn.
"I thought it would be more of a 'do this, do that' (kind of thing)," said Youngsma, a junior at Middle College High School, located on the San Joaquin Delta College campus in Stockton.
To Youngsma's surprise, she was delighted that commissioners could do whatever they wanted with the float.
"You can do more creative things — whatever you think looks nice," she said.
The Youth Commission consists of students from all high schools in the Lodi Unified School District, plus students who live within the district boundaries but attend other schools such as Jim Elliot Christian, Lodi Academy and St. Mary's. They organize dances and other events where Lodi Unified students from different schools are invited to congregate together, along with Lodi students who attend out-of-district schools.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.