This past Saturday, dozens of excited elementary school students (from Barrington, Brown, Hart, Reilly, Winn, and Wooldridge Elementary Schools) and their families braved the blazing heat to gather at the Downtown Farmers Market for TAP’s third annual Pageant in the Park. This year’s pageant took the form of a parade about renewable energy. As TAP Programming Specialist and Pageant Coordinator Dustin Wills explained, “The objective is to encourage students to think critically about the future and how they can be agents of positive change in order to shape that future.” In addition to challenging students to think critically about their impact on the planet’s future, the parade also tied the idea of renewable energy to Imagination: Gateway to the Future, TAP’s overall summer programming theme.
It was all but impossible to miss the exuberant imagination present in the parade. Children and families marched through the market carrying floats of gas-guzzling cars, murky water, smokestacks, and a scared-looking boy on his bed, surveying the environmental hazards around him. (The parade was inspired in part by Just a Dream, Chris Van Allsburg’s excellent children’s book about environmentalism and imagining the future.)
Once the parade wound its way to the northwest corner of Republic Square Park, participants entered the Think Tank. They emerged with new floats representing sustainable energy and healthy ecosystems. Beautiful fish, clean water, a school bus, solar energy panels, a recycling robot, wind turbines, kites, and more environmentally friendly ideas emerged from the Think Tank. As students paraded these new floats, they also sang original songs (composed with help from TAP Teaching Associate Freddy Carnes) about environmental conservation. They then retired to the shade for a well-deserved lunch of Taco Deli tacos and lemonade.
Thanks so much to Teaching Artists Aron Taylor, Igancio Cruz, and Sachi DeCou for inspiring their students to create such an amazing and thoughtful parade. As one student explained, he and his peers learned not only about how “it’s bad to litter,” but also that “when you’re making floats [and making changes], you have to be a team.”
Enjoyed our Summer Pageant in the Park? Check out this cool event being thrown by Urban Roots this weekend, Saturday from 9am-12pm. Summer Farm Fest. It will be