Float building is a work of love, dedication, and tradition that many in the community look forward to each year during the Lehi Round-Up celebration.
The miniature float tradition started in 1938 and has grown into one of Lehi’s annual celebrations’ most popular “small-town” features. The Lehi Round-Up parades bring thousands to the community each year to enjoy not only the creativity of the floats but also to be a part of a community, which can make us feel like we are a part of something greater than ourselves.
Lehi wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints enter floats in the annual parade as well as local businesses and other organizations. Volunteers spend months planning and building their crafty works of art.
Float building can be challenging but fun as volunteers come together to celebrate a tradition that many Lehi residents look forward to each year. However, some new to Lehi have yet to experience the joy and madness of this skilled and laborious task.
Shellee Draper moved to Lehi 30 months ago and was asked to be a part of the float committee for her ward. Although floatbuilding seemed a little different for Draper, she had a lot of fun. She feels that Lehi’s parade and float tradition brings a “small town feel” to Lehi.
This year, Draper was eager to volunteer for the float committee. The process has been a fun experience for Draper.
“Creating and building a float has been an interesting process. Our ward committee is basically Sandy Hanks and me. Others in the ward help, but the two of us have done all the planning and designing. We bounce off ideas to each other, and we are enjoying the process,” said Draper.
Creating a float became a form of therapy for Draper as she committed to taking charge months before her husband had open heart surgery.
“Leaders in my ward suggested I walk away from the responsibility. It has been such a positive distraction that I have stuck with it while caring for my husband. This process has helped me to cope with the stress of his illness,” said Draper.
Her husband’s health has improved, and she, too, has found healing while building a float.
“We look forward to its completion. It’s a simple design, but it expresses our feelings about small-town Lehi and the many fun things happening in this great city,” said Draper.
Danielle Nate has lived in Lehi for seven and a half years. She and her family have participated in the miniature float parade many times. She loves how the community comes together to support and help each other craft a float.
Nate has spent well over 100 hours thus far planning and building a float for her ward. This year, she was charged with leading the float committee and has enjoyed the process.
“Building a float is an intense process. I grew up doing carpentry with my dad. I love crafting, and this has been fun, from putting the thought onto paper and drafting it out to beginning the creativity process and building a float.”
“Jumbling time to get this done has been tricky. I have had help from neighbors and ward members. During the day, people will walk over and work on something small that needs to be done. Everyone is chipping- in and doing what they can to make this a successful project,” said Nate.
The miniature float tradition brings a sense of comfort and belonging to the Lehi community. Planning, building and crafting floats brings families together and enables people to make new friends and reconnect with old friends.
“I’m excited for what we will create as the community celebrates together,” said Nate.