I'm Intending to replicate 1936 Harley VLH Police Motorcycle for Keystone Kops, clowns without makeup. Shrine Hospital kind of thing. Philanthropy, yadda.
Roger that, driver - 'yadda.'
The initial plan was for using Arduino Uno to control multiple effects on the scooter, like flashing LEDS, oogah horn, bubble machine, yadda. A rear deck having +/- jacks for each channel programed and driven by Arduino via buttons or sensors. I was inspired by Disney's night parade in Orlando. I was trying to get easier things going, then put the Arduino to work as it's intended. I then got sidetracked with shields for this and that, ...
Sure, toss in am Arduino, but pick -one- project at a time. There's always next year to add the next feature. You can't finish it until after you start it.
The point of computerised automation is to... ummm.... 'automate' things. Except for the LEDs, all of the features you've described are most cheaply and easily controlled by a panel of switches. But, for example, if you want a -series- of features, executed by a cingle pushbutton, such as a 30 second bubble effect, with oogahs at the start, two short honks at the middle, and another at the end, then some automation is a -good- idea because it -frees- the driver from doing all that switch work and they can pay all attention to driving.
Again, pick one idea and put it in, and you can expand on it later.
I have two suggestions.
A smokestack with a propylene glycol heater. Smoke is *BIG* crowd pleaser. Further ask if Andrew at mrrcsound.com can make a sound chip with a steam engine. His sound systems are **LOUD** and very small designed for model aircraft and trucks. OK, maybe not for the '36 Harley but for another vehicle.
BTW solar panels aren't -really- of much use because all of these effects added up require -tons- of amp-hours for a 30-60 min parade. Small auxiliary plain vanilla acid cells are best because they're 99.9% reliable, and weight isn't -that- much of an issue. Don't get me wrong - I'm a wool-died minimalist, but after a certain point it's not much worth the effort of going through -ALL- the possible power saving options. Having 2x more than enough power is MUCH better than running out of electrons only a hundred yards from the end of a parade. Build it and go and have fun.
BTBTW please post vids or URLs to vids.