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story.lead_photo.caption Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista While some groups threw candy to the crowd, members of the Bella Vista Community Church handed out popscicles.

Ever since the Bella Vista Patriot's Fourth of July Parade got its start in 2008, one family has been entering a homemade float. Tim and Julie Hull, with some help from their sons, usually have a military theme for their entry.

"My husband retired from the Navy, so the Navy is near and dear to our hearts," Julie Hull said.

They skipped a couple of parades because of family reunions, but they realized they missed the float-making project as well as the parade.

It usually takes the family about three weeks to build the float, which begins with a wooden frame. The sides are usually cardboard, she said. This year, it is 21 feet long and very tall. There are turrets on both the front and in the back, and the back turrets are loaded with confetti to shoot off when they reach the reviewing stand.

When they started float making, they built a platform, and Tim and Julie Hull pulled it themselves with the two boys riding on it; but as the boys got heavier, they found better ways to pull their float. Last year, the family bought a golf cart, even though they aren't golfers. This year the float is built around the golf cart.

Their floats usually have a military theme. In fact, it's usually a Navy theme and the ship is always called the USS Village Plumber, Julie Hull said. The Village Plumber is her husband's business.

When the golf cart isn't needed for a float, they often bring it along to volunteer opportunities. They can use it to shuttle people back and forth to events. It's also helped her sons learn to drive.

"You need your children to learn what community means, and community is not just about receiving; it's also about giving," she said. Julie Hull is a member of the POA's Community Involvement Committee, and the entire family has been involved with Boy Scouts.

"The kids have always volunteered, ever since they were big enough," she said. When the POA had kids carnivals for the holidays, the Hull boys had to work the first session before they could go have fun during the second session.

This year, Andrew and Michael are 15 and 16 years old, so they did most of the work on the float themselves.

Usually, they leave the float at Allen's through the Fourth so people can take photos on and around it, Julie Hull said.

In all the years they have entered a float, the Hulls have never won a prize, but that's OK, Julie Hull said. They don't do it for the prizes.

"We do it because we love our country and we think a patriotic parade is a good way to love your country," she said. "It's a way to honor our country and the veterans."

General News on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: Family floats a tradition for Hulls

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