This year’s homecoming parade took place last Saturday and was blessed with beautiful weather.
Mackenzie Lovitt, an art therapy major, watched the parade for the first time.
“I really liked the parade, this year was my first time being here and it was really cool,” Lovitt said.
Sharon Rodriguez Benarroch, vice president of the international students club , helped organizing the ISC’s parade entry and agrees with Lovitt.
“I really liked the parade, I like that fact that everybody meets and they all go downtown, and the committee gets to see all the different organizations,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez is also happy with the overall organization done by the parade chair of the homecoming committee.
“It was well organized, it was clear where everybody was supposed to be, the person that we were supposed to check in with, it was also clear what the judges’s criteria for the float was,” Rodriguez said.
Katie Griffith, who worked as the homecoming committee’s public relations chair, said a lot of work went into planning the parade.
“Everything turned out really good, we are happy with how it went. I think everything went smoothly, the organizations were in one place and the bands in another, so having them in different spots really helped to make everything less crowded. So it was easier for them to come out, and we had people telling them to go in which spot,” Griffith said.
The parade chair had been planning the parade several months ahead.
“They have been planning the parade since we found out which chair of the homecoming committee we are on, so they started planning that night. It was March or April when they started planning,” Griffith said.
Planning includes appointing and contacting the judges for the floats and working out a route for the parade.
“The people on the committee figure out the route of the parade and then they talk to City Hall and find out if that will work for them and get it approved that way. They had it approved since last spring, so they’ve had it approved for a while,” Griffith said.
The student organizations put in a lot of hard work and time as well.
“We had a problem with the truck and the trailor, to get the storage organized, so we have been working on it the last week. It has been pretty intense, we worked during the day and also during the night. We worked on shifts, around twenty people in total. I think I slept three or four hours the night before the parade,” Rodriguez said.
Still, Rodriguez is positive that the effort was worth it.
“I was very happy with the float. I was also happy that a lot of international students came that morning, I was actually surprised it were that many because I thought at 6 a.m. nobody would show up. I think we were around 60 in total, we were the biggest group which was very cool,” Rodriguez said.
Despite that, Rodriguez was not completely happy with the judging process.
“At the time they were judging we couldn’t have the music on, and we weren’t allowed to be loud because we were in a residential area. We felt this was a disadvantage because our main factor was to be loud and show our spirit, so I don’t know how they judge the overall spirit when we have to be quiet,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t understand why there was such a big gap between when you had to be there and the judging. We had to be there at 6 a.m. and judging was at 8 a.m., and the parade started at 9 a.m. I think it would be helpful to be judged while walking in the parade so they see the sound and dancing and spirit.”
However, according to Griffith they have a reason for setting up the contest like this.
“In years past it rained out and it’s hard to get judges in different spots. That’s why we started setting them up in line, because when it rains their float might get ruined,” Griffith said.
According to Shae Fannon, who was in charge of the parade together with fellow student Jessica Roark, the judges – appointed by the chair’s advisor Colleen Kowich – use different criteria to appoint a winner.
“The judges judged on appearance, props, creativity, adherence to theme and overall presentation on a scale of 1 to 5,” Fannon said.
There were a total of 60 entries in this year’s parade including 15 bands, 12 politicians, 18 student organizations and multiple entries from community members, according to Fannon.
Lovitt said her favourite float was Alpha Sigma Alpha’s.
“I really liked ASA’s costumes,” Lovitt said.
ASA came in second, followed by Sigma Sigma Sigma in third place. Phi Delta Theta won the float contest.