Homecoming parade continues to grow in size

Cameron Koch

The annual homecoming parade is set to be bigger and better than ever before, according to parade organizers.

Beginning at 5 p.m. and estimated to last until around 6 p.m., the parade will begin near Parking Structure 1 on Avenue of Champions before making it’s way up the Hill and turning onto State Street. The parade will finish in Fountain Square, downtown. The homecoming pep rally, Big Red’s Roar, will follow the conclusion of the parade.

Parade entries will be arriving on University Boulevard from Nashville and Russellville Roads between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Ginny Hensley, director for Alumni Programming, said since the decision was made in 2009 for the parade to end in Fountain Square, the parade has continued to grow.

“It went from being just a campus parade to more of a community parade,” Hensley said. “The last couple years, its been full, the whole route from campus down to downtown, there hasn’t been any dead periods. We estimate about 5,000 people participate and watch the parade.”

Hensley also said the number of parade entries are up slightly from previous years. The parade will feature 15 floats, 22 homecoming candidates and about 30 to 40 community and student organization entries.

Charley Pride, director for Student Activities, said the convertibles the homecoming candidates ride in are all volunteered for use in the parade. Many of the car owners are alumni, or have some kind of connection to WKU, Pride said. Once the car owners are interested in participating, Pride’s office helps match up the car with a candidate.

Convincing car owners to participate isn’t too hard, Hensley said.

“It’s a lot of people who do great things for this campus year round,” Hensley said. “They just happen to have a convertible. Typically, they enjoy it. It’s a fun atmosphere and fun to drive through the WKU parade.”

She said the parade is different from the more than 200 events Alumni Programming puts together every year.

“The thing about the homecoming parade is that it’s our opportunity to see what students have been working on so much throughout the week,” Hensley said. “The hours they spend on these floats is really pretty unreal when you think about all the things they’ve done to make these floats impressive…I think seeing that enthusiasm is really what homecoming is all about. That’s what makes the parade so fun — it’s hard not to be in a good mood when you are in the middle of parade madness.”