Revamped float ready for virtual parade

Revamped float ready for virtual parade
Posted on 11/20/2020
Employees incorporated speeder bikes from “The Mandalorian” web TV series.

Upholding traditions are especially important during a pandemic, Instrumentation Control Technician Chris Juarez and his work crew acknowledged.

That’s why they can’t wait to debut El Paso Water’s revamped Water Wars float in the virtual Sun Bowl parade on Thanksgiving morning.

Juarez and his volunteers, all EPWater employees, produced another jaw-dropping float to represent the utility for this year’s virtual event. Star Wars fans will marvel at the addition of speeder bikes ridden by bike scout troopers from “The Mandalorian” web TV series.

Real work begins

Working on the float offered a sliver of normalcy for Juarez and the crew amid the pandemic.

“We wanted something to look forward to during the holiday season,” Juarez said. “When they asked us to be a part of the Thanksgiving Day parade, we were all for it.”

With a theme focused on “Fan Favorites,” parade organizers invited only a select group to update last year’s floats for the 84-year-old El Paso tradition. Participants were filmed individually for the event, which is coming to a living room near you at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving on KTSM-Channel 9 and Each unit gets a 1-minute-and-30-second segment in the virtual parade.

“It is amazing to see how the team responded to the requirements for this year’s parade,” said Utility Chief Operations Officer Martin Noriega, acknowledging the team’s work ethic. “Even the little changes that we did on this year’s float were time-consuming. I just support them, and I commend them 100 percent.”

Team effort

Employees tweaked last year’s award-winning float to participate in the 2020 virtual Sun Bowl parade. Juarez led the project to refresh 2019’s float with the help of a small volunteer crew, comprised of mostly Auto Shop employees. Crew members ̶ Said Villafuentes, Julio C. Chavez, Jose Quintana, Eric Jacquez, Irving Arreola, Samuel Pizana, Luis Garcia and Michael Dubrule ̶ worked after-hours Thursdays and Saturdays. Others such as Brandon Minefee, Javier Garcia, Alex Avila and TecH2O volunteer Ada Alba contributed as well, Juarez said.

“This team had a lot of heart,” Juarez said. “They really pulled through, and without them it wouldn’t have happened.”

Even with the limitations of COVID-19, which necessitated a smaller crew and rotating work shifts, crew member Dubrule appreciated being part of the project.

“All of us have a really good camaraderie,” said Dubrule, Heavy Equipment Supervisor. “Doing the parade, building the float, we’re having fun. Happy Thanksgiving!”

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