Behind the scenes look at building of Vigilante Day Parade floats

Posted at 10:11 AM, May 05, 2023

HELENA — All around the Helena area students were hard at work constructing variously themed floats for Friday’s Vigilante Day Parade.

Students from Capital and Helena High Schools were busy constructing creative, Helena-centric floats.

For example, some of the boys from Capital’s championship football team were working on an 1872 Helena Fire float. And while they still had quite a bit of work to do as of Thursday morning, senior Nick Michelloti said that they were in it to win it.

“Last year I thought we got snubbed. So, last year we should have won. But we gotta bring it home this year,” says Michelloti.

Kayla Almquist, a senior who recently finished out her high school basketball career, was making a 1983 Bruin Basketball Championship float with her friends.

“Well, it’s really fun just to have a day off school, definitely, but getting to hang out, build a float, and just watching everyone watch you as you’re going down downtown. Everyone’s waving. Everyone’s so excited,” says Almquist.

Jaydee Zakovi, a Special Ed Teacher at Capital High School, spent the day going from float-building house to float-building house to inspect the floats and make sure the students were on task. She says that while the students have around 3-4 weeks to build floats, some of the students wait until the last minute to put it all together.

“Some of the floats as of this morning just have a flatbed. And when you go to the parade and you see what they did overnight it is like, whaaaaa!” says Zakovi.

Most importantly, The Vigilante Day Parade is a uniquely Helena tradition that these students and the community celebrate and look forward to each year.

“I think it’s special because nobody else really does this. I think it’s a Helena thing and we take a lot of pride in that, so I think everyone celebrates it,” says Almquist.

“I think it’s very special because I even remember when I was in elementary school, I was a middle schooler, I was, I always got so excited to come watch all the floats go by. And it was a day I looked forward to. And I think it’s just a big thing because a lot of people look forward to it,” says Michelotti.

The Vigilante Day Parade begins at noon on Friday.