Avon’s Duck Tape Festival parade rolls on after hiatus
It’s used for everything from crude repairs to making costumes. And in Avon, duct tape is celebrated each year with adhesive-centric parades, sculptures and games. The city is home to the makers of Duck-brand duct tape. This year’s festival returns this week after a three-year break due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ten years ago, Ideastream Public Media’s Kabir Bhatia visited with the Urig family as they made a parade for the 9th Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival. Although the family has moved away and no longer participates, Keith Urig said the boys – now in high school – fondly remember the annual event.
Editor's note: This story originally published July 15, 2012.
For 7-year-old Kole Urig and his family, the sound of duct tape tearing is also the sound of the jungle.
“It’s kind of like we’re building duct tape animals for the duct tape parade, and right now we’re doing the gazelle,” he said. “[The] peacock is done, and the lion is done. We’re done with the flamingo but I think the beak fell off.”
The Urig family is inching toward tomorrow’s duct tape parade [in 2012], their fourth time participating and hopefully their fourth best in show. Past floats have woven the family excavating business with Avon’s chosen theme -- be it the Woodstock Generation or this year’s safari motif.
Kole’s mother, Rebecca, scrounged materials for months to give some backbone to the life-size animals now in their living room.
“We did do a lot of recycling this year. I collected a whole bunch of newspapers and milk jugs,” she said, motioning to the head of the lion made from a beach ball.
They also used “newspaper for the horns, mostly some pipes that my dad got from his shop to make the legs, but inside there is also bubble wrap,” said Kole.
Labor of love
Each family who signs up to make a float gets 60 rolls of duct tape from the organizers. Rebecca estimates that they bought about four times that much for what will eventually end up as lawn ornaments for Kole and his mischievous little brother, Karter. The boys are lifelong Avonites like their father, Keith, who says he participates because of civic pride and also because of Kole’s love of animals.
“This actually is really scaled down,” said Rebecca. “Every time we start thinking about it, in like February, and we make this humongous grand blueprint, and then we start building it… it gets scaled down massively.”
The float is longer than a limo, and it dwarfs the Urig’s garage. The wood frame will be covered in plastic grass before the animals are positioned. There’s the bright pink flamingo, a red-eyed tree frog, a parrot and lots more, all covered in more shades of duct tape than most people probably knew existed.
“It took a little on the fabricating part to make it turn,” Keith said. “[We had] to lean on some friends to help us pull through to get the right pieces and parts.”
“We never really keep track of how many hours [this takes],” Rebecca said. “And I think it’s because we don’t really want to know.”
Origins of duck
The “Duck” Company started in Cleveland in 1950, and, through a series of owners and corporate buyers, came to Avon in the early 1990s. When the city wanted to re-establish its own town festival, Duck stepped in and became both lead sponsor and organizer.
Along with the parade, the festival gives Avon natives like the Urigs a chance to show off their town with arts and crafts featuring duct tape… plus music and food which presumably do not involve duct tape.