Homecoming Float


Active Member
Okay, so i'm looking for some ideas/suggestions on a home coming float for my residence hall at BU. I'll lay out my ideas (roughly) and see what you have to say. I need some suggestion on the design concepts I can figure out the carpentry etc myself

First: my limitations. It needs to be able to fit on the back of a golf cart, it looks kind of like a golf cart-pick-up trucky thing and it can't involve any electrcity that is not battery powered.

So, here's my idea. I want the theme to be Dirty South (in the Big Pimpin', Welcome to Atlanta way). So I'm thinking a platform on the bed of the golf-cart. Mounted about 6 feet up will be a sign reading "Dirty South". I'm going to dril holes in the deck of the platform and put differently gelled flashlights underneath so the colored light comes up out of the floor.

some things I need help on.
1. I need somekind of centerpiece on the platform. something so it is more than a platform and a sign. my friend suggested a replica of a giant steel reserve bottle, but i think that may not go over well with the powers that be.

2.I'd love to incorporate dry ice. Possibly putting in the bottom with the flashlights (in a tub or something ) so we would have smoke rising out of the holes in the ground, which would also enhance the different colored lights.

3.I would like to incorporate sound. since i can't use anything that needs to be plugged in I was thining about using the largest battery powered boombox I could find. To help amplify the sound I was thinking about putting it in an open faced box facing out to try to direct as much sound as possible out to the crowd.

I think max I will get $100 to do this. thoughts? comments? brilliant ideas? I wanna hear 'em!



Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Is this a flat bed golf cart that will carry up to seven 40# boom bases in the bed if you are not worried about the shocks afterwards or Cushman/Mule type that will carry about a half ton and as opposed to about a 3' square bed have about a 4x6 bed. If it’s a golf cart, than be careful abut overloading it, yet on the other hand, maximize that loading to prevent it from tipping over. See below with the pole and dancing girls adding not only weight but distance equals top heavy. Weighting down the bed might be necessary to add stability.

Dry ice does not really do much smoking without hot water melting it and making it turn into gas, plus a fan motivating it. It’s also not cheap and goes bye bye really fast. There are battery powered smoke machines out there and low lying smokes you can probably rent for this event. Perhaps some pencil foggers mounted under the frame to leave a trail of exhaust behind the cart.

Q-Sound, surround sound or reverb on a boom box should make it carry further than larger speakers and greater wattage which will be less available or easy to find, much less much more difficult to hide. You can also power smaller ones up off the battery power if needed without drawing too much amperage. Anyone concur? Sound will probably be limited by the parade officials anyway, lower volume but more reverb would be the way around this in making a more quiet sound carry further.

The flash lights given a day time event would at least need to be xenon types I would think and they still probably won’t be intense enough to do much. Now assuming it’s a 12v battery, why not wire in some headlights on fuses for your intent? Car headlights would be cheap and easy to get, otherwise there is hundreds of different sealed beam lamps out there of different voltages, wattages and beam spreads which would fit into normal PAR fixtures. There is also lots of neon and other car type decorative lighting on the market. Perhaps some chasing rope light around the dash board.

“So, here's my idea. I want the theme to be Dirty South (in the Big Pimpin', Welcome to Atlanta way).” No idea what you are talking about thus I’m at a blank for ideas of how to convey this specific to your description.

I think you are putting the wagon before the horse in telling the title of the float but not really having what you want to present described after this. You have a theme, you have certain elements of it’s basis but are still searching for the vision to express this theme and unify your theme with very basic ideas of what to do. The title of most books comes after the book is written. How about a vision instead of title first. What is it you see about pimpin’ in Atlanta which is bigger there than elsewhere and makes it stand out as spectacle? What from this vision will link people in Boston given this is the location of the float to Atlanta, much less your residence hall.

Purple is a vision (prince is built around just that word describing his character), penguins are a vision either comical and huge spinning bird, or perhaps lots of them, you hear the word and ideas form instantly as to how to realize and present it. A vision or design concept is something you can build off of and is easily described in a way that’s understood and the how to and what is wanted naturally follows.

Pimpin can be a vision imagine as long as we leave out the specifics of the title you have for it because with this specific of a reference you would need to define what’s different about it than elsewhere before anyone else would start to follow and add to it.

On Pimpin’ the golf cart covered in long fuzzy green shag fabric, gold spoked rim covers, large tail fins, purple neon under it, you in a pimp costume that’s way out throwing fake money out to the croud and laughing away. Your sign mounted to the bed like a sign post or scaled down overhanging street light with sign off it, and two street walkers also decked out dancing under the light of the street lamp in the bed of your golf cart behind you. That’s a vision. Just three sentences with slight fleshing and it’s sufficient to draw up the basic concept and add details. It can be expressed, it can be seen by others in expressing it and while there are certain specifics to design elements in it they are mentioned in a more broad way to help convey the vision and not specific and must be done. Given this statement is now conveyed substitution for the elements is possible with other ideas that fall in line and/or advance or build on the point.

Note I mention street sign first, than I had a better idea of a lamp post to dance around (as if a pole at a strip club) and under with the top dirty/hazy yellow mercury vapor lighting for them from above in using your lighting idea. This shadow prone dirty yellow haze of light with a green tint from above as juxtaposed against the purple coolness neon below the cart and fancy duds pimp in it should have some degree of effect even in the day time. The street sign in keeping with your idea covers the requirement will have worked, but street lamps can also be used for this purpose, or perhaps it holds a stretched banner facing over the driver and on the opposing side of the lamp in further refining the now concept. Which ever the choice here we are selectively bending reality in presenting two stage scenes at once both in a more or less realistic but comical way. Having a comical pimpmobile with personable pimp moving down the street, the driver is on stage anyway, why not present him, while at the same time we see the street corner that is in a fixed location and two very welcoming available women trying to get the crowd’s attention as the primary focus I would think in describing a true pimp.

Than building upon ideas of ideas, perhaps on a track under the carriage you have a gumball mars light/cop light that slides out of the frame from the rear of the cart so that from a distance it can start flashing when slid out giving all involved something to do at times besides just wave. Pimp starts driving wildly, hookers hang on for deer life and try to duck down and hide. Light goes off and slides in or if too complex just goes off and stays out there off the rear of the golf cart at some distance from it and you return to the normal way.

Some ideas anyway given I understand pimpin’ but don’t understand how or why it would be a float.

Hope it helps.


Active Member

Thanks a bunch for all your input. I really liked the idea of the lights with power taken from the battery. do you think you could give me a little more detail in how to go about doing that?

Just so you know why I wanted it to be "dirty south", it's cause the float will be representing the portion of my school known as South Campus (get it? get it? huh?). Big Pimpin' and Welcome to ATL, I used just so people knew that when I said Dirty South I didn't mean rednecks and grits. I just chose two songs people associated with the sort of "Dirty South" look I am going for.

again, thanks for the info.



Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
In that I did not catch the link you meant to the "dirty south" verses the south side of campus, one might expect that others even local to you would not catch this link even if local to you. Given this intent of south siders (something us Chicago people have experience with) are lower class to most normal people, you still if intent to "south side of the campus" being lower side of status intend to present such a thing that matches up with my concept, present for the simple people a rational, might even still find the association very thunnus. And this is beyond fighting the objections by those that would object to such a pip float subject you present in publically not liking what those darned South Siders present in spite of not expecting less of them given their lower social status...

A much less political topic might be easier to present and even add to the long term respect of as opposed to some concept that you know is going to cause some problems with when presented as something great and they the North siders admire as opposed to another log in the fire of your own fate you try to present an opposing view of. In other words, if the North Side is all too cool and they present some daisy shaped float in the form of a golf cart, you would be more likely to win with a even better yet daisy as a golf cart than with some “Animal House” type float. This battle you win won’t be won with hookers and pimps no matter how Atlanta South Side they are in giving them what they respect, instead it’s won by playing their own game and winning at it, than changing the rules once the expectations are more on a level playing field. You as a tech person can design and construct what you wish thus have the advantage over any North Siders in what they present.

In batteries, I know at times during Taste of Chicago, I as "Rogue 1" the senior crew chief that went around fixing problems or in doing my own thing once the bulk of the festival was up, was assigned either a similar golf cart with flat bed to the one you describe when installing sign posts on boom bases or a medical cart with both flashing Mars light, siren/waler and flat bed stretcher. There is something seriously wrong with me driving such a cart around Buckingham Fountain in a race at midnight after a few beers in a medical golf cart. Ah’ those were the days back than.

In any case, this medical cart the point is about is that it had powered up both a very annoying siren and flashing light over the battery power necessary for stop and go on the golf cart. It also had a mini. spot light. In powering up a golf cart given this is your means of transport, I think it more the alternator and battery as to how many amps above the motor it can power up at it’s rated voltage than something I can answer. There is amperage available, but given I don’t do cars, I could not answer how to wire up or how many ampers you can tap off the golf cart. This should however be an easy question thus something that can be answered easily.

My intent was to point out the design concept more than any pimps in the drivers sat and ho’s in the dance type thing. Being someone that has done parades professionally, much less went to college, I would hope that for a other than Marti Gras type parade you would think more the bennin type normal float done in a extreme great way than political statement nobody will understand but will assure you great negative press. Such a press on your great float you create might be remembered, but the long term goals of it might also be hampered. I do not advise any such a thing unless it falls in line with other similar concepts. Given a golf cart parade, your tech ability once focused on other areas should be more than enough to gain support for your cause and attract notice for your own specific goals if you put as much into the actual creation as political statement. Go with this effort in even less satisfying but easily acceptable float instead of political statement instead. The North Siders will be jealous of your efforts already in besting them, and in being the best you will gain more favorable press over the long term than as a float that accepts your role and lives in it. Think of the children they will play against you with or without merit. You going to loose any point you make even if understood.

How about something else?


Well-Known Member
disc2slick said:
...I think max I will get $100 to do this...

Putting things like that at the end of a post can get you charged with murdering ideas, hopes and even dreams of a small generator. Be careful where you put that thing.

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