Gay Lesbian Parade

San Francisco, California, June 25, 1986



From "The Memoirs, Volume Two" -



            Then, too, we started talking more with the guys at the AIDS Emergency Fund and told them that we were willing do to anything they might want, like decorations or publicity or entertainment and to call us up the next time they had an event.  So they said, sure.

            Well, we got a call a bit later, from them, saying come in and talk with them about an idea they had.  OK, we said and went.

            Seems they had marched, well walked, in last year’s big Gay Pride Parade, as the AIDS Emergency Fund and they all had liked it a lot and they were thinking of walking again.  Then they said, well, you know, they could also do something like bigger, like well maybe something like, maybe, a float, you know?

            A float!  A float in the parade!  Of course we could build a float in the parade; we could build the best float in the whole parade!  The best float in the whole World!

            So, we formed the Triple-A / AIDS Emergency Fund Float Committee and started to work.  Well, we began to think, what is the theme we wanted to express here, what is the message of our float?  To raise money, of course!  And came up with the idea of a giant “Piggy Bank” and drew up plans and started collecting cardboard.





            We decided it should be a self-moving float, like our previous Santa Maria ship float, and not pulled by another vehicle, so we burrowed on old pick-up and Ready Set said we could build it in their shop.  The plans showed a big, smiling pink pig with a big silver coin sticking out the top.  We loved it.








            The guys at the Fund liked it too but were a little uncertain.  “But, uh, Bill, how are you going to build it?”

            “Why, cardboard, of course!”

            Well, they didn’t really know us or understand our methods, and then these queens didn’t know one end of a hammer from the other.









            Well, in the end they loved it, of course.  We decided the color of the pig should be light blue and put raised flowers and decorations on it and it looked just great.  Set into the giant silver coin on top, we decided to put an actual Statue of Liberty, like the coin, and, guess what?  Bermuda again got to be the Statue of Liberty, “My gal!” she said.  The coin was all covered with tin foil and the torch stuck out the top for Bermuda to hang onto.  As always, we built right up to the height limit, set for the overhead electrical wires of the street cars.



            At the staging area before the parade we were all getting ready and Bermuda was getting in place, she now all painted with silver make-up, of course, and a tin foil crown on her head.  Everyone was happy and excited.






            Just then a couple of metallic balloons went floating by, obviously lost by some kid, and they happened to run into one of the electrical wires just inches above Bermuda’s raised torch.  KAPOOW!!  An enormous explosion sounded and everybody screamed.  There was even a fire engine that was standing by, and it came rushing up to inspect the wires!  I looked up at Bermuda and she looked down at me, a look of horror on her face.  She was coated in metal just inches from the wires.

            “Don’t worry, Bermuda,” I called, “we’re below the wires.”

            “I hope so,” she said, and I thought what dedication!




            Well, we bounced down the road and everybody loved Bermuda and called her Miss Liberty and the float won First Place!




            It would be the first of three first place winners we would build for the AIDS Emergency Fund, throughout the years, until the Parade Committee finally gave us a special category and placed us at the head of the parade as Grand Marshall or such, and wouldn’t let us win any more first place ribbons.  “Give somebody else a chance,” they told us.  But that was later, as I said.



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July 17, 1986


Triple-A Productions, et al.


Bill: (Russell, Matthew, Charlie, Bermuda, Joy, …)


            What can I say? … but THANKS.  Without your help, creativity, friends, etc. we never would have pulled it off.  I, along with the entire Board of Directors of the AIDS Emergency Fund applaud your contribution to our organization in particular, and the community as a whole.


            Through all our efforts we were able to clear over $3,000.oo for our “Piggy Bank”, and after all our expenses.  That money will go a long way in helping us meet our goal of providing emergency assistance for people with AIDS.


            While working with you again would certainly by a pleasure, I’m sure you share in the hope that next year the AIDS Emergency Fund will cease to have a prpose.


            Again, my warmest thanks.  Your generosity is exceeded only by your creativity and energy.  By the way … have you found the blue prints yet?




George Burgess


AIDS Emergency Fund




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