For three years, we participated in the Cary Christmas Parade, spreading the message of FIRST to hundreds of people. The last two years, however, we decided to participate in Apex’s Christmas Parade instead. As late October and November rolled around, we began to prepare for our annual tradition.

Like previous years, we worked on incorporating elements from past games into our float. This year, we kept our geared 42s that we had last year and the train theme, but we updated the game elements that we used as presents, deciding to use a combination of the totes from 2015 and the cubes from the 2018 game. As the Apex Christmas Parade is at night, we also worked on decorating our float and robots with lights. Learning from last year, we added more lights to the robots and float and adjusted the positioning of the lights to make things more visible. A few meetings later, the float was finished.

On the day of the parade, the weather did not look promising. It was cold and wet (though that did not stop us from engaging in our favorite team game, Ultimate!), and we were not sure whether we would be able to run our robots. The wet conditions also meant that shooting frisbees and balls would not work well. Fortunately, we were still able to drive our robots with no damage to our electrical, and we also had less communication problems with our robots as a result of switching our robots over to an arduino system.

After packing up and hiking through the rain to a pick up location and then having to hike to another location, the day ended. The next day, we spent our time drying out our robots and treating them. Overall, the experience was fun, and we had several people recognize us from last year and telling us how impressed they were with us!