Parade 2017, Saturday May 27th, 12:00 noon, Get your ride ready!

Also see additional Photos by Matt Needham and Jenn Gapetz.

Art Tougeau Happenings

2017 Art Tougeau Final Friday Street pARTy
It’s time once again for the annual Art Tougeau Art Car Parade festivities. 
Join the kick off festivities at the Final Friday Art Tougeau Street pARTy May 26 from 5 to 9pm!
Music • food & drink • fun for all ages
Several art cars and crazy rides will be on display.

May 27, 12:00 noon, Art Tougeau Parade Route Plus Awards Ceremony directly after the parade.
Line up in the center lane in front of the Lawrence Art Center, 940 New Hampshire Street (between 9th & 10th Streets, parallel to Massachusetts Street) at 10:30am for registration, check-in & judging. If there are no spots left in the center, park in the metered street parking.

Parade will begin around 12 noon.
The route will begin at the Arts Center, roll South to 11th St, then right onto Massachusetts Street, heading North on Mass for 4 blocks, parade will turn right (East) onto 7th Street for 1 block, then another Right (heading South again) onto New Hampshire, ending back at the Arts Center.

Awards and presentations
The awards presentation is immediately after the parade around 1:00.

Our Mission Statement

Ever since man noticed the phenomenon of the "corner-less rolling rock" he has been coming up with more ways to use the labor saving invention we now know of as the wheel. In celebration of America's fascination with all things wheeled, Lawrence holds this event to honor mankind's large creative cerebral cortex, bipedal locomotion and opposable thumbs.

Our goal is to create an all-inclusive event that is symbolic of humanity's need for self-expression in the medium of all things wheeled. Ever year we are adding to the original event, Post-Parade Block Party since (2007), Final Friday Pre-Parade P-Arty since (2010)

The Pre-Parade Final Friday P-Arty is an event in which families and individuals can bring their car, bicycle or whatever, then paint them while eating popcorn and listening to the music of various local bands. In this event, people can also view other custom show vehicles from all over the United States and meet their builders. The purpose of the entire event is to celebrate creativity and honor the human spirit with a sense of humor, and to just have some good, clean fun on wheels.

Parade History

From Charles Jones, Parade Founder:

Art Tougeau was founded in 1997. About that time, the book and documentary "Wild Wheels" by Harrod Blank, caused quite a stir. My wife Carol was on the Lawrence Arts Commission, which decided sponsored a rail-based National Endowment of Arts exhibit called the Artrain. Knowing that I was interested in making an art car and wanting to publicize the Artrain, Carol suggested I organize an art car parade. So it began. The name "Art Tougeau" - a punning rhyme with Art Nouveau - was also my wife's idea (she does have a graduate degree in Art History!). We started with handful of entries...and have grown steadily ever since.

One of the winners that first year was Cottonwood, Inc., an organization of people with profound disabilities. I'll never forget the look on the Cottonwood faces as they accepted their trophy before a wildly cheering crowd. Who knows, maybe those people had never been cheered before. At that moment, Art Tougeau became something more than merely a wheeled-art event for me. It became a celebration of community; of eccentricity and acceptance; and of shared joy that glides along in tricked-out cars, fanciful bikes and decorated wheelchairs.

Art Tougeau has always been a truly collaborative effort. The first year, we bought trophies from a local shop. The second year, an art class at Lawrence High volunteered to make trophies. Those trophies continue to show up each year, and have become an art attraction in their own right: sculptural, beautiful, funny and unfailingly inventive. Awards are made on a mysterious basis of merit and need. To this discerning but tender-hearted tradition we owe thanks Channel 9 news reporter Bev Chapman. Bev volunteered to judge entries in that first parade and has continued ever since. We also hand out bright ribbons in great quantities, so every participant goes home with a colorful reminder of the parade.

There are always a ton of kids in the parade: by themselves, in groups, with their parents, on bikes, trikes, riding mowers, and contraptions of unknown origin. Kids have always entered for free. After all, what exemplifies the Art Tougeau spirit more than a kid with clothes-pinned cards fluttering in the spokes? With each passing year, Art Tougeau has gained renown in the region and across the country, attracting attracted participants from Houston, Little Rock, Omaha, Wichita and Boston.

Entries range from beautiful to funny to technologically complex to just plain weird... and every one of them is a delight. The morning of the parade is an amazing experience. You never know what to expect, then all these fantastic wheeled pieces start rolling into sight. You can't help but laugh. And, like everyone else, you run from entry to entry shaking your head in amazement. There have been far too many wonderful entries and people to list. However, I do have to mention Eric Farnsworth and the Farnsworth Bicycle Laboratory. Eric's welded, physics-defying rolling armada has delighted at every parade, as has KT Walsh's organic artworks.

Art Tougeau owes so much to so many people. Jenny Hart was a lifesaver in those early years. Today, folks like Pat and Linda Slimmer, Ben Ahlvers, Richie Backus, Amy and Randy Carlson, Margaret Morris and Steve Richardson and bring hip enthusiasm and considerable organization skills to the show. The Lawrence Arts Center has demonstrated great support for this event. The Final Friday / Lawrence Arts Center / Art Tougeau Street Party is a blast. The parade is better than ever.

Long live Art Tougeau!
-Charles Jones

Need More Information?

Call Pat Slimmer @ (785) 832-8689 or (785) 393-1068 and/or Contact us for more details.

Thanks, Pat Slimmer

Coming from out of town?

Art Tougeau can help with gas & such for folks traveling 300 miles or more. Our budget has its limits, but we try as best we can. Early entries have priority & we'll award until the money is used up. If you need info about places to stay, Contact Us.


Become A Sponsor

Sponsorships allow us to:

1. Advertise the event and related events.
2. Create fuel incentives for people or groups over 300 miles away.
3. Supports local bands who play at our events.
4. Purchase paint and supplies.
5. Create housing incentives for people or groups over 300 miles away.
6. Build and maintain web site.

Be a sponsor!Download the PDF sponsorship forms below and sign up by mail. Your donation is tax deductible.

Audio Equipment Provided by

Audio and Technical Services provided by

Tropies By

New Hampshire Street Party Venders

Participating Local Organizations