Art Tougeau Delivers: Everyday Magic, Day 555

Nothing like a steamy weekend to bring out some of what I love most about Lawrence: what happens when this community intersects with expansive imagination on wheels. The annual Art Tougeau (pronounced Art to go) parade this weekend, held between a block party the night before and another one the afternoon afterwards, featured our fine feathered friends on wheels (chickens in a portable coop), flower-wrapped faces of people of many ages in a flower van, the surfboard car, the lipstick mobile, the ever-present bottlecap car, the monopoly money car, and even a pinata car driven by someone carrying a colorful bat.

Ken, Ruth and I watched from Mass St., right outside Aladdin’s — where we would soon enough cool off with Greek salads — while the ape-driven mobile, seeing rightful revenge on the humans came by shortly before the giant fan (perfect for such a steamy day). We enjoyed the truck bed, complete with four-poster bed, as well as the mermaid-mobile, and my very favorite: Anne Patterson’s brilliant teapot on wheels followed by small tea cups on legs.

Of course, it’s also wonderful to see the space car (or was it a car?) and all the kids on bikes or sporting home-made cardboard cars. But what really thrills me about this parade is the unassuming and wildly creative spirit of fellow Lawrencians and others who travel here, ready to march their festooned rototillers or monopoly-money-pasted vehicles down the our main street. Despite the despair-inducing politics of our state and the sauna-like conditions of the day, people made their own fun out of whatever they could dream and dress up, each year inventing new possibilities and literally giving them wheels. Go, Art Tougeau!

Thanks, Danny, for the great picture of Ruth and me.

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