WUFT News

Gainesville’s Garbage Will Be On Parade

By on November 6th, 2013
Local artists Raymond Rawls and Lorraine Duerden will debut their environmentally friendly float at the homecoming parade Friday.

Brianna Donet

Local artists Raymond Rawls and Lorraine Duerden will debut their environmentally friendly float at the homecoming parade Friday.

One tooth at a time, Raymond Rawls is putting the finishing touches on his latest masterpiece — a giant alligator made entirely from repurposed trash.

The gator is completely pedal-powered, and will make its way down University Avenue during the UF’s homecoming parade Friday afternoon.

“Not only is it moving down the street, but the arms will be moving; the head will be chomping,” Rawls said. “We try to get a lot of movement involved and try to get people to get excited about it.”

For the past two years, the Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives has been working with local artists to create carbon-neutral floats for the University of Florida’s annual homecoming parade.

Rawls and float

Brianna Donet

Raymond Rawls fastens paper mache teeth onto his alligator parade float.

Alachua County produces 500 to 700 tons of waste every day, Waste Alternatives spokeswoman Fae Nageon de Lestang.

She said it’s inspiring to see everyday trash used to create art the whole community can enjoy.

“In the big scheme of things, it’s not that much,” Nageon de Lestang said. “But the message it sends is that we can reuse our waste, and the things we throw away can be repurposed before they’re truly garbage.”

This is the second year Rawls and his wife, Lorraine Duerden, have created an environmentally friendly parade float. Last year they crafted a carbon-neutral fish float.

Rawls used salvaged bike parts, scrap metal and leftover rolls of paper from The Gainesville Sun to create the base of the manually operated gator float. He used paper mache for the coating and detail and fastened levers inside the float for the effects.

“With any gator, you’ve got to have the chomp,” he said.

Rawls said the project shows that waste can often be reused before becoming trash. He hopes to create one new carbon-neutral homecoming float every year.

Last year, Rawls made a fish float from repurposed trash. He says he hopes to design one homecoming float a year.

Brianna Donet

Last year, Rawls made a fish float from repurposed trash. He says he hopes to design one homecoming float a year.

He said he hopes his work with repurposed trash will inspire more environmentally friendly floats in the future.

“Next year, we’re not really sure (what the float will be) because it’s all salvaged material. You’re never really sure what you’re going to get,” he said. “It lends itself to being a bit of a free form and you eventually start to narrow down your idea.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 2.15.32 PM

Gainesville Homeless Shelters Prepare for Cold Weekend

Expecting a weekend cold snap, Gainesville homeless shelters like St. Francis House and Grace Marketplace are asking for donations to prepare for a surge of homeless people looking to stay warm.


A crowded audience of Island Field residents and trail supporters filled the Jack Durrance Auditorium at the Alachua County Administration building on Tuesday night. The County Commission voted on how to address complaints regarding use of the Barr Hammock trail.

County Commission Votes To Keep Barr Hammock Trail Open

The Alachua County Commission voted Tuesday to keep the Levy Loop Trail at the Barr Hammock Levy Prairie Preserve open year-round. Residents of Island Field, a neighborhood that borders the trail, raised concerns over noise and privacy earlier this year.


Pumpkins, whose native growing climate is in a cool and dry area, are displayed and sold at the Trinity United Methodist Church pumpkin patch. The patch, located at 4000 NW 53rd Ave., in Gainesville, is open until Oct. 30.

Imported Pumpkins Help Bring Fall Season To Florida

More than 40,000 pounds of the brightly-colored gourds arrived on a semi-truck Sept. 28 just in time for this year’s pumpkin patch. Before filling the small hay-covered courtyard at Gainesville’s Trinity United Methodist Church, the pumpkins travel 1,807 miles through [...]


Punk music festival Fest is now permitted to sell alcohol on Bo Diddley Plaza this weekend after the city of Gainesville broadened its alcohol ordinance. Fest will be held from Friday to Sunday.

Fest Expands Into Bo Diddley Plaza After Ordinance Changes

Punk music festival Fest will have bands perform for the first time at Bo Diddley Community Plaza Halloween weekend. The use of the venue comes with ordinance changes Fest organizers have been waiting three years for.


Martin Luther King III poses for photos with Eastside High School's Gospel Choir before addressing the crowd of voters at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. “My father used to say that a voteless people is a powerless people,” he said. “One of the most important steps we can take is the step to the ballot box.”

Residents Encouraged To Vote Early At ‘Empowerment Sunday’

Voters were encouraged to take full advantage of early voting on Sunday at Gainesville’s Empowerment Sunday organized by the African American Accountability Alliance of Alachua County. Martin Luther King III attended.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments