Environmental issues on parade

In a lot near Kfar Saba, the country's biggest Purim festival is putting on the final touches.

Adloyada animals 88 248 (photo credit: Eli Ne'eman)
Adloyada animals 88 248
(photo credit: Eli Ne'eman)
Environmental issues might have been overlooked in the recent elections, but green politics will take center stage at this year's Purim Adloyada parade in Holon. Nine colorful floats will roll down the streets of Holon on March 10, beginning at noon. This year's event is being called "Noah's Carnival - The World is in Our Hands." "All of the floats have something to do with the environment," says Zipi Ifat, the parade's designer. With just days left prior to the country's biggest Purim extravaganza, Ifat and her team of workers are putting the final touches on the parade floats. They work just outside Kfar Saba city limits in the lot of the Simanei Derech factory. Strong smells of paint, glue and shellac permeate the air. Everyone seems to be smiling. "The work for Purim is fun, happy work," says Andy Makovsky, a metal and woodwork specialist. This year's floats include one of Noah's Ark - with all the animals he saves from destruction; penguins on a melting ice floe; US President Barack Obama, who has been dubbed "the first green president" for his environmentally friendly views; President Shimon Peres with the country's new national bird, the hoopoe; and the earth with Tzipi Livni, Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak inside it ("We're asking them to watch over the earth for our children," says Ifat.). Here's the way it works: After the parade's officials come up with a theme, Ifat sets to work on drawing sketches she would like to make into floats. The ideas take nearly three months to finalize. Construction of the floats takes just over two months. The creative team is made up of artists and workmen. "To work here, you don't have to be an artist by profession, but you have to be prepared for hard work," Ifat says. While Ifat gives instructions in Hebrew, Russian and English can also be heard in the work area. "It's like a melting pot here. This is a job that brings in a lot of immigrants," explains Makovsky, who made aliya from Denver. Makovsky was a marketing manager for a staffing company in the US, but after not finding work in his field, he hooked up with Simanei Derech six years ago. "I'm still here." AT THE lot where they work, new floats stand alongside those from years past. The Holon floats are recycled to other cities around the country. But Holon always gets the original floats, explains Ifat, who in the off-season designs sets for television and theater. Ifat has been the designer for the Holon parade for the past 17 years. "I'm still excited. Every year it's a new subject, and that means a new creation," says Ifat between giving tips to the workers. "When I see the children happy, when I see their eyes light up, I am happy, too." The Holon Adloyada is like a miniature version of Italy's Viareggio Carnival. "We do the best we can with the budget we have," says Ifat, who visits Viareggio every year. "Our biggest floats are 4.5 meters high; theirs can top 20 meters." And while not the tallest, the Holon Adloyada floats are nevertheless impressive. Over the years the floats have also become more kinetic. "A lot of the things we used initially were for one-time use," says Makovsky. "Now we use materials made to last. We also use lights, smoke, things that move." Some 4,000 participants will take part in this year's Holon festival, including actors, gymnasts, dancers, drummers and big bands. In a parallel Adloyada festival in Ramat Hasharon, the theme is musicals. Six floats are being prepared, and large screens will show Grease, The Jungle Book, Aladdin, The Lion King and other popular tales. Some 2,000 participants will march along, with dancers, street actors and stuntmen among their ranks. The name "Adloyada" comes from the decree that on Purim we should "not be able to know the difference" (ad d'lo yada) between Haman and Mordechai. The Holon Adloyada is not about intoxication due to alcohol - but rather, due to excitement. And excitement there will be at the annual Holon event. The floats are once again sure to impress the young and old. The Holon Adloyada parade kicks off on March 10, at noon. The Ramat Hasharon parade starts at 11 a.m. on the same day.