In keeping with an old tradition, some students at the University of Missouri-Rolla are designing a float with moving parts for this year’s St. Pat’s Parade. The float, which features a candy-spewing tornado and a flopping catfish, is being constructed by UMR students enrolled in a class called Experiential Design.
“Tall Tales” is the broad theme for this year’s parade, which will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 18, in Rolla. The experiential design class decided to concentrate on a Pecos Bill theme. In addition to the twister-riding cowboy, the float features Slew-Foot Sue, Pecos Bill’s catfish-riding girlfriend.
Students in UMR’s new Residential College are each enrolled in one of four special classes, one of which is the Experiential Design class charged with creating the float with moving parts.
“This semester’s class has been really ambitious about what they want to do for the float,” says Dr. Robert Mitchell, dean of the UMR School of Engineering and one of the instructors of the class. “Although many large floats take over a year to plan and produce, we are doing this in a couple of months. Several UMR researchers have opened their lab doors so we can make what we need.”
The tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Rolla started almost a 100 years ago when a group of students declared St. Patrick the patron saint of engineers. A week’s worth of activities on campus culminates with the parade through downtown Rolla.