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Kelowna float a good investment?

The City of Kelowna's new parade float underwent an 'Extreme Makeover' after the towering Ogopogo collapsed during a parade in Washington State this past summer.

The incident occurred at a parade in Deer Park, WA, a small community north of Spokane back on July 27.

As float driver Clarence Johnson tells it, the City's float "Spirit of the Lake" was about two-thirds of the way through the parade when tragedy struck.

"We were about 50 feet from the announcers stand on the parade route and the whole body of Ogopogo collapsed on us - right in front of everybody on the announcer's stand," recalled Johnson.

"When people tried to help stand him up again - his ear was broken off. All we could do was lay him on the flat of the front of the float, used the front sign as a holder and finished off the rest of the parade."

Johnson says when they returned to Kelowna city workers welded the bar back onto the motor that holds Ogopogo.

"My wife and I spent five days putting Ogopogo's ear back together. If he goes through a metal scanner - he isn't going to make it."

Despite the calamity, the float still took first place and the corresponding $100 cheque.

The story was relayed as part of the annual parade float update before council.

Kelowna's city float travelled about 10,000 kilometres and participated in 22 parades during 2013.

Of those, 16 were judged with the float driving away with 13 first place ribbons or trophies.

The largest parades were the Starlight Parade in Portland, OR, watched by an estimated 250,000 people and the Vancouver St. Patrick's Day Parade where about 120,000 people lined the parade route.

While the City's new $50,000 float has completed just its third full season, Johnson says it's time for a facelift.

"It is time for refreshing. The top just needs to be refreshed," says Johnson.

"In Canada there are not many communities that have parade floats, but they usually switch them every three years. New Westminster switches theirs every two years."

The City will look at different options which likely wouldn't take place until sometime in early 2015.


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