Central Illinois Fleet - Preliminary Inquiry

The initial blurb about this Illinois State Fair project has it sounding like I'm going to run this thing myself, but I can't: I work at the fair making TV shows every day, so this project, if it goes, will be run by IDNR people; I'm just the initiator and go-between until the project takes on a life of it's own, then I'm just a spectator.

To clarify what I'm trying to do: I need to find a group of PDR enthusiasts willing to spend 10 days at the fair next August, camping on the grounds in their RV, and building one to two PDR's, while demonstrating one several times daily in the pond at Conservation World inside the fair grounds. Due to insurance hassles, fairgoers will not be able to ride the boats in the water, so someone from the team has to take the duck out 3-4 times a day and row/sail it in the pond for a bit, then bring it in so people can examine it, clamber over it, and ask questions.

I'm going to try to have Lowes or Menards or Ace or 84 Lumber donate the materials, wood, paint, etc. and deliver them to the site, so the build team will only have to bring food, their tools and expertise. I will try to get DNR to donate a parking spot for an RV camper, a free power and water hookup, a shelter tent for the work space, and passes for the week, to live on-site. We'll create several press opportunities for TV, radio, and print interviews.

The idea is to build a little bit of a duck every day in public, showing the simplicity, so it is done by day 7 or 8 (parks and rec day). We could probably enter one duck on a trailer in the state fair parade, the Thursday before the fair starts, to promote the event and get people to come see it float/sail.

I'm hoping to get the Scouts to participate, either helping the build itself as an Eagle project (Eagles build Ducks!) or, to run a craft table alongside, a make-and-take of one-foot-long PDR models which kids can build from kits I will provide. We'll probably have some of those models race in the pond for a prize of some sort.

I also expect to auction or raffle-off the Duck(s) built on site at the end of the week, making it the winner's problem to take them home and get the stickers and etc. and helping reduce expenses. The state is near broke, so this entire project has to be self-sustaining to work.

What do you think of this idea, and do you have any suggestions for a team that's willing to basically take a ten-day vacation in August to build and sail ducks for no pay but only expenses? Some would call it slave labor, others might consider it a real vacation treat. Anyhow, I'm looking for a team willing to come do this for the love of doing it. Any takers?

Mark Suszko mark.suszko@att.net