By Devin Knighton
Pooper scoopers from BYU fulfilled their responsibility in the Fourth of July parade a couple years ago while posing as knights in shinning armor defending their fair lady, said David Pratt, executive committee chair for the Freedom Festival.
“They had so much fun. The crowd just loved them,” Pratt said at the meeting held Tuesday, July 1.
Volunteering for the Fourth of July parade grabs at the heart of people of all ages and places-even outside Utah-but most of the help comes from BYU and UVSC students.
“You get such a kick out of seeing a quarter of a million people, watching their faces as you carry a balloon, or a banner, or even if you”re a pooper scoop,” Pratt said.
This is the 126th year for the parade and a wide variety of volunteer positions are available. Positions still available are: parking attendants, banner carriers, security officers, bleacher ticket takers, huge helium balloon carriers and pooper scoopers.
“Our real unsung heroes are the pooper scoopers,” Pratt said. “This is your one and only chance to be weird.”
More than 100 volunteers participate by helping hold the giant helium character balloons, such as Woody the Woodpecker, in the 2 1/2 mile parade.
“Just please don”t suck on that balloon,” Pratt said.
Any one wishing to volunteer for the parade should meet at 7 a.m. on July 4 by Zion”s bank near the new indoor football facility.
“It”s the absolute funnest rush,” said Pratt. “I love downhill skiing, but this is better.”
One couple excited to help anchor a balloon is Bill and Liz Blake.
“We”re all pumped up,” Bill said.
“It”s such a big happening,” Liz said.
Bill and Liz have retired and each summer look forward to leaving their home in Scottsdale, Ariz. and moving to Rain Tree apartments in Provo.
“We love the people here,” Bill said. “They”re friendly, helpful, considerate”
Bill and Liz love spending time going to BYU musical and theatrical events, driving in the Wasatch mountains, and most of all, volunteering for events.
They helped the Food and Care Coalition, the Special Olympics and the Triathlon. This Fourth of July, they want to be right in the heart of the Provo”s patriotic parade that passes more than 250,000 people.
A few surprises will be added this year to the event that will continue to have the usual floats, banners and bands.
“There will be a number of aerial events this year,” said Brett Burr, Volunteer Coordinator. “Our whole purpose is to excite and enthuse those coming about Independence Day.”
In addition, more than 500 Boy Scouts along the parade route with american flags will lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance at 9:11 a.m, to remember the heroes of Sept. 11.