Meet the Team

Mo Johnson

Mel Johnson

Greg & Tamara Dudevoir


Brainstorming and Design:
Mo Johnson, Tamara Rose Dudevoir, Greg Dudevoir

Artwork / Murals:
Mo Johnson and Mel Johnson

Mo Johnson

Our float celebrates Andover Public Schools and uses a water wheel to turn a mobile over a schoolhouse.

The water wheel was made by attaching ceiling fan blades to a wooden block (hub), which in turn is attached to a wooden dowel as the horizontal axle. To minimize friction and allow the horizontal axle to turn freely, it is supported bytwo pillow blocks (normally used to eliminate friction in industrial machines). A set of gears uses the horizontal axle’s motion to turn a vertical axle to which the mobile is attached. Because the mobile’s turning speed will be directly related to the speed of the river’s current (which can be fast!), the gears use a 3:1 ratio to slow the river’s speed. The water wheel is removable (because it extends below the base of the float): the axle is inserted through a central hole in the wooden hub and fixed in place using a bolt through a perpendicular hole through the hub and dowel. Fake grass around the base helps set the scene.

The schoolhouse has 2 sides made of plywood, and 2 made of plexiglass, so the gear mechanism and inside murals are visible. On the outside are a mural of a playground scene, and another of children holding hands in front of a sign with the Earth, Peace, and Love. The plexiglass shows a tree on one side and the front of the schoolhouse on another. The two inside murals show scenes of art class, PE, music class, and reading. The schoolhouse walls are connected to each other and to the floor using L-brackets. Quarter-round around the base and two wooden struts inside the top help stabilize the structure.

The mobile overhead has school busses, birds, and clouds (the latter made from kitchen sponges). The original design used wooden dowels and fishing line for the mobile, but after seeing the speed of the river after a hard rain this was rebuilt using metal dowels and picture-hanging wire.

Several types of lighting are used to help make the float visible at night. LED strip lighting wired to battery packs illuminates the inside, 3 floodlights show the outside murals, and remote-controlled color-changing LED lights are attached to each arm of the mobile. A latched door in one of the plywood walls provides access to the light switches and the remote.

The roof is made of 4 triangles of plywood. Getting the angles right to connect them was tricky, but using hinges solved that problem. Flex-seal tape and spray were used to seal the roof against rain. The roof is removable (to allow access/servicing to the internal components) and has a wooden frame at the internal rim to help seat it, as well as S-hooks at two corners to lock it into place.