Steveston Salmon Fest 2021 Behind the Scenes – Sammy the Salmon

Hey brick builders and animation lovers! This is part 5 of our series on the Steveston Salmon Fest 2021 stop motion parade we made. You can see it here. Today we are focusing on the grand parade marshal himself, Sammy the Salmon!

If you’ve ever encountered Sammy in person, he looks like this. Unlike typical salmon, he sometimes has legs. It’s likely what these bronze gentlemen are discussing.

Here’s our Sammy! Of all the builds we did, I think this was the best one. It just worked out so perfectly. We used all of what we had but one of the strange green toned brick that makes up most of Sammy’s head.

The finer details of hat, shirt and tie weren’t there, but I feel like it doesn’t matter. We could add them in with stickers or something, but having him be all bricks is awesome.

It was one of our first ideas to have a larger-than-life salmon be a parade float, and when we heard that Sammy was the Official Grand Marshal, we had to make him that float. It’s a very high honour for a salmon. We were also pretty leery about getting a minifig that looked enough like Sammy that it would be worth it.

It was important to have articulated arms we could move. It would make him much more dynamic as a float, and of course, allow him to wave at his legions of fans!

Here’s the full float. We wanted to combine a few nautical elements with some natural elements.

We tried to keep the body of the float in Sammy’s colours as much as possible.

On a side view, you can see Sammy’s full tail. Since he didn’t have to walk around, we figured legs were just troublesome. We’d probably spent way too much time picking out shoes.

For more easy movement, Sammy is mounted on a turntable piece that allows him to rotate freely.

It wasn’t visible in the parade video, but we had a small compartment under Sammy for a small LED light, and the white piece he’s on is a grid that allows the light through. The main lighting we used drowned out the LED completely, but it’s something we might look into trying again in future.

When figuring out the rest of the float, we immediately chose salmon heading upstream as a metaphorical starting point. Who isn’t inspired by the long journey of these plucky fish to spawn in the same place where they were born? It’s poetry.

We used clear ‘wand’-style blocks mounted on hinges to make our salmon ‘jump’. We moved them on a specific count as the parade moved to make it seem like they were swinging back and forth.

In this overhead, you can see the spawning pond, which is not Lego brand, and a bit of the grid we put under Sammy for the LED to shine through. Plus a few of the flowers we put everywhere.

The pond piece is a really neat one. Glad we had in our back pocket. One fun fact about our jumping salmon is that we only have the two of them, so when you see the silver salmon as decorations behind the announcer team, it’s the same two fish!

One final bit of fun: we got Sammy’s eyes at the Lego store, from the pick-a-part wall. We were very lucky, because until we got those, we were using a couple of other pieces as eyes. We think the final form we reached was the best.

Salmon are an important part of our ecosystem. Like everything in our natural world, they require our respect, our attention, our common sense, and preservation efforts. It’s our hope that you enjoyed Sammy, and take some time to think about how such a humble fish can be so important. Thanks for reading!

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