Artful activities signal unofficial start of spring

Ringle-Jingle Tri-Scooter Hooter-Tooter will be right at home in Saturday's wacky Art Tougeau Parade

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Scott McClurg/Journal-World Photo

Alex Weston and his 4-year-old daughter Evondi are ready for the Art Tougeau Parade with their noisemaking scooter/tricycle called the Ringle-Jingle Tri-Scooter Hooter-Tooter. Weston said he was looking forward to the parade so he could recapture his garage parking space from the contraption.

Anyplace else and Alex and Evondi Weston's Ringle-Jingle Tri-Scooter Hooter-Tooter would seem outlandish.

But the wheeled art contraption is destined for the annual wacky procession known as the Art Tougeau Parade, where refrigerators, lawn mowers and welded combinations of multiple mobile objects -- adorned with paint, glitter and other motley accessories -- roll down Massachusetts Street in a vivid display of imagination.

Needless to say, the Hooter-Tooter will be in its element.

The father-daughter team of Alex and Evondi Weston is preparing the scooter-tricycle morph for the wheeled art parade, which is scheduled for noon Saturday.

"I've got a 4-year-old who helped me name it. This is all about her," Alex Weston said of his daughter.

The name really says it all: The Weston's parade entry is a scooter with a hitch on the back to tote a tricycle, and the whole hybrid vehicle is decked out in noise-making devices, such as horns, bells and wind chimes. Evondi picked the color scheme, and she and her father covered the tri-scooter in fuschia, red and gold paint.

"I like the fact that my daughter enjoys it so much," Weston said of the parade. "Kids really seem to be attracted to it. I think being a participant in it, the grassroots, hometown version of a parade, is very appealing. I like to see how creative people are."

Promoting the arts

Probably the biggest challenge for Alex Weston will be mustering the stamina to foot-propel the scooter -- with his daughter in tow behind on the tricycle -- at the 5 mph clip required in the parade.

"I took it for a spin around the neighborhood, which was pretty amusing," Weston said. "It's going to be hard work. One leg's going to get tired."

The parade route is a little less than a mile long and will cover slightly different territory this year. It will begin at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H., roll south to 11th Street, west to Massachusetts, north on Mass. to Seventh, east to New Hampshire, then back south to the Arts Center. Awards, presentations and special events will commence immediately after the parade.

A $15 entry donation is requested, but entries by children are always free -- and there are always lots of children.

Just about all the students at New York School have contributed to the school's parade contribution: A pickup truck plastered with masks the children created in art classes with art teacher Penny Tubbs. The theme is "Faces of New York."

"We've been making it educational because we talk about different cultures," Tubbs said.

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Among the masks are African Yorba masks, collaged Picasso masks, cartoon masks and others. The faux faces will be duct taped to a truck donated to the school by Lawrence resident Janet Good.

"I think it's wonderful," Tubbs said of the parade. "Of course, I love the arts, and I think ... any way we can promote the arts in Lawrence is great by me."

Wheeled wonder

This will be the eighth year the Art Tougeau parade has brought art loud and proud to the streets of downtown Lawrence. As in years past, the Oscar-nominated documentary "Leo Beuerman" will be shown after the parade at the Lawrence Arts Center, where the cart used by Beuerman, a one-time Lawrence resident with severe disabilities who refused to succumb to self-pity or fear, will be on display.

This will be the third year Hannah and Rebecca Moran have participated in the parade. Their offering this year is the Four-Wheeled Wonder, two welded-together bicycles with a bench in between. It was created by County Commissioner and parade organizer Charles Jones, but the girls' father, Jess Moran, will push the youngsters through the parade route. The exertion won't be anything new for Moran, who two years ago pushed his daughters in a jogging stroller called the Princess Chariot. The family's efforts that year won the So Cute award.

"Our girls just absolutely love it," said Susan Kang, mother of Hannah, 7, and Rebecca, 5. "What's great about living in Lawrence is that our girls can take part in such a wonderful event like this Art Tougeau parade. The first time we went to see it ... they said, 'I want to be in it next year.'

"What kid doesn't want to be in a parade?"

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