Homecoming parade to walk through history


Jason Howell

Members of Eastern’s Residence Hall Association march in the Homecoming Parade on Oct. 25, 2014.

Mackenzie Freund, City Editor

The last 100 years of Eastern and Charleston’s history will be on display for the community to watch during the Homecoming parade Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.

Any groups that will be walking with or without a float are able to start lining up at 6:30 a.m.

Nathan Wehr, the interim assistant director of student affairs, said they wanted to get groups to do a float that was centered around a time period or year that is very important to them.

“If they are a fraternity or sorority maybe it’s the year they were founded,” Wehr said. “We wanted to get the students thinking about the year they chose and why it matters to them.”

The parade is set up that the beginning of the parade will have the group that chose the earliest year and will progress to the present day, or most recent year, at the end.

“We’re going to have those strategically placed throughout the parade so people can see the progression of years and how that plays into Eastern’s history,” Wehr said. “100 years of homecoming is a big ordeal for a university to go through.”

Roughly 36 Eastern groups have signed up and around 80 community groups have signed up to walk in the parade.

Canaan Daniels, a graduate student in student affairs and graduate advisor over the parade, said any community groups are able to submit an application to walk.

“Community groups are anyone from Charleston,” Daniels said. “We’ve had people from Ashmore, Cumberland, all the different surrounding communities that have interest as well.”

Daniels said that roughly three fourths of the groups that walk are from the community members and the other fourth of groups are from Eastern.

The groups that submit an application are able to choose if they want to do a flatbed float, a decorated car, or a walking unit for the parade.

Wehr said the flatbed floats were the most popular option chosen, followed by decorated cars and a handful of walking units.

“This year we really encouraged organizations on campus to do a flatbed float,” Wehr said. “We know that those kind of floats have decreased over the years, so with the 100th homecoming we wanted to up the flatbed floats and get more groups involved.”

Daniels said on an average year, the lineup would be chosen strategically based on how many groups chose which option for the floats as well as how many community and Eastern groups apply to be in the parade.

“We make sure the EIU groups and the community are mixed up as well so we don’t just have 10 in a row of community and then 10 of EIU and not see any eiu entries at the end,” Daniels said.

Wehr said the people planning the parade need about two the three weeks before the parade to get the groups in the order they should be in when it is time to line up and march.

The groups that are part of the parade will be judged based on two different criteria; Participation and competition

Groups will get 30 points if they have a flatbed float, 20 points for a decorated car, and 10 points if they are a walking unit.

For the competition points, there are different points totals given based on the kind of float unit they have.

All of the points for Homecoming week can be found on the Homecoming website.

The community is able to be judged as well, but many of the groups will choose not to be judged.

Daniels said trophies will be available for and community group that participates in the judging and places.

Wehr said he believes the Homecoming Parade has been part of Homecoming through all of the 100 years.

“We talked to the archivists in the library and we looked at pictures and we have noticed that the parade has always been part of the community,” Wehr said.

Daniels said he believes that the parade route has changed over the years it has been around.

“it has changed to make it simpler,” Daniels said. “I would probably say it has changed a lot in the 100 years it has been around.”

Daniels said the Homecoming parade planning for next year will begin once this year’s parade is over.

“We will be working on tweaking everything, and getting ready to get the application sent out by next summer,” Daniels said.


Mackenzie Freund can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]