Building community through art with Honey for the Heart

For the last month local artists, both townie and student have collaborated making puppets for the annual Honey for the Heart parade. This year the various projects had to work around the central theme of birds, with each project taking on a different interpretation. Each puppet is unique not only in look, but how it operates, what it’s materials, and overall theme itself. Honey for the Heart is done on a volunteer basis where even the artistically challenged can help. This week anyone can stop by to help finish the puppets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this week before the parade at 6 p.m. this Saturday at Central Venue on Carpenter Street.

15 thoughts on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

For 89 years, all of America has shared in one Thanksgiving tradition: watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is broadcast on NBC for three hours and takes up about 2. 5 miles of New York’s streets.

The 2015 parade featured 17 giant balloons, 12 marching bands, 27 floats and close to the same number of celebrities.

Watching the parade isn’t my personal family tradition, but I sat through the broadcast to see what all the hubbub was about. Here are my thoughts:

1. Loving that the first hour of the parade is actually dedicated to Broadway and not the actual parade. Is that so the rest of it can catch up on the 2.5 mile walk?

2. As much as I’m all for an hour of Broadway, the Macy’s parade isn’t the greatest outlet to showcase something rooted in live performance. The performances really lacked the luster they typically have. Even Something Rotten!‘s fabulous “A Musical” number was tarnished by lip sync.

fallontonight tonight show musical broadway tony awards

3. The casts of The King and IFinding Neverland and School of Rock the Musical didn’t even have mics on. At least pretend, you’re not lip syncing.

4. NBC really capitalizes on the event. It not only had the cast of The Wiz Live! perform a sneak peek, but it also had random interviews with the celebrities of its upcoming shows Telenovela and Superstore, in addition to already-airing Blindspot.

yahoo tv wizard of oz diana ross dorothy gale the wiz

5.  What other time do you get to hear Matt Lauer explain the premise of Spongebob Squarepants as the giant square balloon floats by? Magic.

SpongeBob SquarePants nickelodeon 2013 thanksgiving spongebob

6. Who decides which artist is paired with which float? As in, who decided Daughtry would best pair with the Avocados from Mexico float? And Shawn Mendes on Pirate’s Booty?
avocado

7. While we’re talking about the acts, who picks the lineup? Since when have the Plain White T’s or Daughtry been relevant? How about Christian rock group MercyMe? Shout out to whoever got Pat Benatar though. That was outstanding.

American Idol interview cool jennifer lopez jlo

8. When does Underdog get away again?

underdog_gets_away
9. Snoopy and Woodstock are still my favorite balloons. Snoopy has appeared in the parade more than any other character.

dancing excited snoopy woo oh yeah

10. How much do viewers at home miss when they cut to advertisements? Wouldn’t you be super disappointed if you were that marching band or that dance group that got skipped over?

11. What does it take to help hold the balloons? Apparently, a decent amount.

12. Matt Lauer and Al Roker, for whatever reason, found it hilarious that Savannah Guthrie said “nut mobile” when Planters had its turn in the parade. Either that’s an inside joke or they are just as immature as the masses.

matt lauer dancing today show

13. The adults dancing on the floats are living life right now with their corny-as-hell moves while the actual children look rather miserable.

liv tyler dancing excited awkward

14. The puns are out of this world. Thank you Savannah for this gem: Pikachu has an “always electric” personality.

pikachu thanksgiving balloon float macys thanksgiving day parade

15. Instead of having dozens of lip syncing artists, feature more performance groups, such as the 610 Stompers and the Kruti Dance Academy. Those are acts most people don’t typically get to see and they can actually display their talents and not just mouth along to it.

If the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade isn’t a longstanding tradition in your family, you probably won’t get why it’s such a big deal. It’s quite a spectacle. Macy’s spends an undisclosed amount on it, and it shows. It’s not something viewers need to dedicate three hours to, but it’s worth it to have it on in the background while you prep Thanksgiving dinner and set the table.

Ohio University’s Homecoming Week: A brief history

Ohio_University_Gateway
Ohio University class gateway

via Wikipedia.com

Ohio University’s 2015 Homecoming, themed “Same Bricks, Different Stories,” will kick off its festivities October 5, culminating in the annual football game. This year, the Bobcats will take on the Redhawks of Miami University. The annual celebration has become a staple for current Bobcats as well as alumni who flock back to the red cobblestones of Athens for a weekend of, mostly, debauchery.

HOMECOMING PARADE

The yearly parade that takes place early Saturday morning of Homecoming Weekend usually has a route positioned somewhat on Court Street. In the past few years, the route has only followed a path down the street for a small portion of the parade.

This year, that amount was cut down even more as the parade will almost entirely bypass Court Street since it will go from Union Street to President Street.

The route was proposed by Ohio University’s Campus Involvement Center.

Members of the Athens Uptown Business Owners Association recently told “The Post” that they believe the route will have negative consequences for uptown stores.

Last year’s fire on Union Street that scorched several buildings on the street has left the half of the street blocked to through traffic.  

HOMECOMING GAME

Ohio University will take on Miami University Saturday afternoon. In 1960, The Bobcats beat the Redhawks 21-0. This was also the beginning of the Bobcat mascot appearing at football games. That season, OU was awarded the title of the NCAA National College Division Champion and went undefeated with a final record of 10-0.

The Bobcat mascot, now an integral part of pumping up the crowd in Peden Stadium during football games, has undergone many changes. The original mascot was paper mache and eventually went through several transitions to become the furry friend we know and love today.

The MARCHING 110

Ohio University’s marching band has had a history spanning nearly 100 years since its creating in 1923. A student named Homer Baird started the then new on-campus group. A new band director, Gene Thraikill, joined the band in 1966 and instated new uniforms and brought a new, energetic marching style to the group. However, he also kicked out all women from the band as well as all female majorettes.

Following heavy media scrutiny and pushback from people on campus, women were allowed back into the Marching Band in 1975.

In 2007, CollegeSports-fans.com ranked The Marching 110 the best college marching band in America. The band once again was ranked at the top of that list in 2014.

Cinema News also included the band in their 2014 list of “100 Things We Can’t Wait To See This College Football Season.”

The Marching 110 participated in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade.

Several videos of the band have gone viral online since the members typically cover contemporary songs during their halftime football game performances.

 

Homecoming: The biggest social event at Ohio University

Homecoming is one of those annual celebrations by Ohio University to welcome back alumni. It is by far the biggest social event at OU with thousands of attendees, including alumni, current students, friends and families. From a football game to countless fun competitions, a parade to a band performance, and award-giving gatherings to massive rallies, Homecoming exhibits enthusiasm, cooperation, inspiration and pride in the Bobcat community.

Perhaps, the meaning of this event can be summarized into this wonderful saying, “Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain in Athens, Ohio.”

The video below captures beautiful scenes during Homecoming Weekend on OU’s iconic Court Street and other parts of the campus. Enjoy.

Honey for the Heart puppets give HallOUween family flair

Honey for the Heart puppet infographic
The anatomy of a Honey for the Heart puppet

Giant creatures with purple skin, long, stringy yarn hair and billowing clothes dance with the rooftops. Smaller creatures glide along the streets with multicolored faces and clothes adorned with bells and shiny objects while they weave in and out of the crowd. Children watch, mouths agape, eyes wide, as creativity and passion take over Court Street.

Halloween in Athens has a new reputation emerging — a reputation for 15-foot-tall puppets making their way down Court Street on the day of the big block party. Honey for the Heart entices people from around the country to see and partake in the making of the puppets.  Local artists drop everything to assist  in creating the masterpieces that ensure a family-friendly atmosphere.

It can be hard to find things to do in Athens that don’t take place around the “party school” atmosphere. Honey for the Heart offers a haven for students to expand their creative minds and see what’s beyond the walls of their classrooms and college parties.

Camille Jones, a student at Ohio University, said, “It’s a place to create and use parts of your brain that don’t get put to much use normally.”

Jones is a learning community leader for first-year students at Ohio University and brought her students to participate in Honey for the Heart. They helped the local artists make their giant puppets and had the satisfaction of seeing them during the parade when they attended as a group.

Learning communities have played a key role in Honey for the Heart’s success. The learning community leaders are encouraged to bring their learning communities to the parade and get the students involved to show them how much Athens has to offer outside of classes.

“I love that it brings students close to the citizens of Athens in a way that isn’t really possible in other mediums,” Jones said. The Athens community supports the university in every way it can. The learning communities view this as a way for the university to support the community as well and change the reputation of HallOUween.

Children flock to watch the spectacle every year, mouths agape and eyes wide in shock and maybe a touch of fear as the 15-footers get closer and closer. Each puppet is different and has its own personality that reflects the artists and community members who contributed to it. A distinct style represented is that of Passion Works Studio. Passion Works helps mentally handicapped artists make beautiful pieces of art year-round. Many of those artists take up residence in 29 East Carpenter St. weeks prior to share materials and work together to make the best puppets.

The puppets are made completely out of recycled or donated objects consisting of newspaper, balloons, fabric and many other earthy materials. Students are able to just walk into the workshop and are immediately welcomed by the artists.

The Air Force ROTC detachment helped make a puppet this year and saw how much work was put into each one. The puppet takes weeks to make, and afterward, it’s donated to different organizations or businesses or recycled for next year’s parade. Riley Carpenter, a member of the Air Force detachment, said they were given a puppet to play pranks on each other with throughout the remainder of the year.

“The fun is just prolonged that much further,” Carpenter said.

The puppets don’t just attract students who want to make the Halloween festivities more family friendly, but also artists from across the country. Janie Arriaga made the journey from Houston, Texas, to make a puppet and march down Court Street. Her puppet was among the tallest, with a glittery purple face, shaggy purple felt hair and bright pink eyelashes. Its hands were larger than the average person’s head and it donned a cloak of brown patterned and lace shreds of fabric. Arriaga plans to become a regular for the Honey for the Heart parade.

The funky town of Athens did not just come up with the idea of giant puppets on its own. It was inspired by the puppet parades in the 1960s and ’70s to protest the Vietnam War. The puppets took over the streets of Manhattan to show one of the busiest cities in the world opposition to the war. Athens took its own angle, making them more playful as a means to provide something more to do on Halloween than the typical block party or trick or treating.

Ellie Bostwick, a student at Ohio University, attended the Honey for the Heart parade for the first time this year and was blown away by the creativity and time put into each puppet.

“It was so cool to see things that I would have normally thrown away being used to create these giant figures and making them look awesome,” Bostwick said. The puppet whose height danced along the rooftops and multistory buildings had old film tape for hair and was constructed completely out of old newspapers, balloons and old clothes. “It was my favorite because it just showed what people can do when they all work together to try to make something that wows people,” said Bostwick.

Patty Mitchell told WOUB, the local news station, that the parade is a spectacle of joy that shows the spirit of Athens. It is something that draws students, children, professors and artists to the streets to see the displays. Each puppet can appeal to the different viewers of the parade.

The balloon lover will see a man wrapped with balloons. A large extension coming from his back with bright colors and twisting lines, forming the weirdest balloon animal one can imagine.

The papier-mache lover will see figures lasting blocks and blocks. Almost every puppet in the parade has an element of the gluey, modge podge technique. Modge podge is a craft supply artists use when making papier-mache. Whether it enhances a nose or makes a giant head for a green Martian, Modge podge is all over Court Street for the parade.

Maggie Rush, a student and contributor to the event said she loves how she can go to the parade and not know what to expect year after year. The general style is the same over-the-top type of thing, but each puppet gets bigger and better throughout the years as the artists become more comfortable with the idea of making larger-than-life art.

Even though the puppets change every year, one thing stays the same — an oasis for families in Athens and an escape from the craziness that is the block party. There is a juxtaposition of the family friendly atmosphere of the Honey for the Heart parade and the block party that revolves around drinking and partying. The parade takes place earlier in the day so families can be a part of Halloween in a good way and can change the reputation of Halloween, even if it’s one puppet at a time.

***

Sarah Erickson is a junior Publication Design/Infographics major with a minor in Journalism. She has a passion for design and art and tries to live every day to the fullest. Check out her design portfolio.