Suzy the Sucker Fish
This past week was the annual San Luis Valley Stampede parade! It’s sort of an end of the summer “hoorah!” in the valley, and it’s a whole week long of events and rodeos in Monte Vista and Alamosa, Colorado. The other interns and myself got to help build the float, which was a team effort between the BLM and the National Park Service. The goal of the float was to promote use of Public Lands and depicted Great Sand Dunes National Park. So naturally, the float had a miniature tent sitting in front of the sand dunes. I was overly excited to make a campfire with bright red and orange tissue paper that fluttered convincingly in the breeze. They added an old school kettle and two kids sat on camp chairs and “roasted” marshmallows – it was a super successful effort! It was visually pleasing (and adorable) and showed the public what type of activities they could be doing in the valley! Portland, another seasonal employee and former EFTA intern, even found a way to suspend a bicycle behind the tent to promote the many BLM biking trails on public lands. However, our awesome float was only the beginning.
Once the parade started I was lucky enough to be able to participate as “Suzy the Sucker Fish”. It was a huge, plush fish costume with anatomically correct suckers and fins. My partners in crime included Morgan, dressed as Charlie the Chub, and the BLM Geologist, Rebecca dressed as a stone fly. My arms fit perfectly in the fins, and I spent the morning running behind the float and offering small children candy and “high fins” while Rebecca gave out “Bug Hugs”. It was a blast. It was also a great reminder of how much fun I have being able to get out and interact with kids; being goofy yet promoting a good cause! So many of the elementary aged kids got so excited to see the fish and stonefly and asked to take pictures with us and were excited to tell us how much they liked the float. Hopefully it helped them realize that they could see real life versions of us just a couple miles from their own backyard.