A group of Mound Street residents are working to revive a street-to-street float competition held as part of the Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival parade.

A group of Mound Street residents are working to revive a street-to-street float competition held as part of the Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival parade.

About 25 Mound Street residents began working last Saturday on a 17-foot-long replica of the Bergstresser Covered Bridge. This is their second year building a parade float; last year, they constructed a replica of the Prentiss School.

John and Jennifer Lind are both involved in the effort.

"It's to create something exciting for the kids, really," John Lind said. "It also gets the neighbors together and gives us something to do. The idea of getting people together is really the important part."

Although they started last Saturday, Lind said the covered bridge replica will be ready by Saturday morning.

"They aren't afraid to work after hours," Jennifer Lind said.

John Lind said residents have spent $45 on the float so far. Most of the wood was obtained from abandoned houses in the area. Concrete, made to look like limestone, was donated by Columbus Coal and Lime Co., he said.

Lind added he thinks the replica will be a fairly elaborate display of craftsmanship.

The couple would like residents from other parts of Canal Winchester to also build floats in order to establish a friendly rivalry.

"We've been trying to rally (residents from other streets)," Jennifer Lind said. "It's hard."

They agreed that they are willing to keep building floats for future parades to try to drum up some friendly competition.

"The purpose of this thing is, maybe, people will start building floats again," Lind said. "But I don't think it's caught fire this year."

His wife said she's happy to work along with her neighbors to do something for a town she loves.

"It makes you feel great to contribute to a great cause," she said.

The idea of a street-to-street float competition is not a new idea in Canal Winchester, however.

The competition at the end-of-summer event -- then called the Fall Festival -- reached its height around 1928, according to Bill Spires, who was grand marshal of the 2002 Labor Day Festival parade. Slowly, the float competition began to fade, but by 1960, Spires said, he and others "rejuvenated" the float-making spirit by holding a friendly competition between residents of different streets in the village.

"It had its pretty meager beginnings," Spires said. "But it was a good way to mix the people who knew each other on the street."

His wife, Patty, said residents would work for weeks, in total secret, building floats.

"The idea then was that we had so much fun conceiving the idea that it brought people together," Mr. Spires added. "Some of these things were pretty awesome."

He said some of the floats produced in the 1960s were 10 to 12 feet tall and most were self-propelled. Residents from around the village would show off their engineering and artistic talents working on floats of all shapes and sizes, he said. He recalled a float carrying a statue of Ohio's state bird, the cardinal; one portraying the dawn of the modern age with a statue of a scientist analyzing a computer, while another statue of a man read an enormous abacus; and one that sported a 10-foot tall bust of Walt Disney and a giant scene from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Floats were made with such dedication and creativity that neighboring festival organizers would ask to have Canal Winchester floats to their parades, Spires said.

"The underlying factor was that we kept people in town," he said.

By the mid-1970s, however, the pace of urban life began to quicken and nobody had time to build the floats, Spires said.

"I've started to notice in recent years people have been having street floats again," he said. "It's good. I think the pendulum is swing-ing back."