More than 1 million people came out
for Denver’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 11.
| The utility local’s float had a miniaturize three-phase power distribution system, complete with transformer and smiling members of Local 111 with their hooks and protective gear.
The parade featured classic sights that would have been at home in any of the previous 54 runnings of the parade including beauty queens waving from convertibles, local high school marching bands playing John Philip Sousa and kilted pipers playing Danny Boy. This being Colorado, there were also horse riders wearing green cowboy hats.
This year, the members of the Denver Local 111 Electrical Workers Minority Caucus wanted to bring something different to the parade. A float, but not just any float, one that would share the message about the work its utility members do every day keeping the lights on.
And they wanted a perch to fling candy to the children in the crowd.
So, they built a miniature three-phase electrical grid, complete with three poles, a transformer and power lines.
At the top of the poles –wearing the appropriate protective gear—were men and women with hooks on their boots, smiling and waving to the crowds.
“It was EWMC’s idea, but our members jumped right on board as soon as we heard about it,” said Cory Williams, an apprentice gas fitter at Excel, member of Local 111 and the Eighth District representative on the Reach out and Engage Next-gen Electrical Workers advisory committee.
|More than 20 members of Local 111 helped build the float and dozens more came to walk with and ride the float during the parade.
More than 20 people showed up to build the float, including many of the nearly 20 members of Local 111’s RENEW/NextGen chapter.
The float made the local news and KYGO, a Denver country music station, called it the best float in the parade, Williams said.
In addition to the 10 five-gallon buckets of candy they gave out to the crowd, the dozens of IBEW members on the float and walking alongside it handed out hundreds of fliers explaining who the IBEW, the EWMC and RENEW are.
“We wanted to get our name out to bring in new workers, but also to put a good light on what we do as linemen, groundmen and gas workers every day,” Williams said. “Everybody pays their bill without understanding how their lights stay on and their houses stay warm. We want to change that.”
There are currently five RENEW/NextGen chapters in the Eighth District, Williams said, with two more being formed now. By the end of his first year leading the Eight District he hopes there will be at least 10.