Homecoming Parade to bring out community

Chrissy Miller, Staff Reporter

015 Homecoming  Little Prince Noah Daugherty throw out candyy during the homecoming last year.
Jason Howell
2015 Homecoming Little Prince Noah Daugherty throw out candyy during the homecoming last year.

The annual Homecoming Parade is coming back to Eastern to create school spirit for the students and community alike at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday on 6th Street -Division Street.

Tyler Vollmer, a graduate assistant in the student life department, said, the parade is open to the community.

Everyone from registered student organizations to residence halls to groups in the community will be participating.

This year there are 125 parade entries and the parade is expected to last around two hours.

“The purpose of it is just to get a bunch of spirit going on with the community and the school,” Vollmer said. “It helps create that relationship with the community where they want to come out and see floats that the Greek organizations build and the floats that the businesses come up with: it shows that they can work together and feed off of each other.”

The floats are always creative, Vollmer said.

A float that stood out to Vollmer came when the theme was under the sea.

One group put the opposing football team’s mascot in the mouth of a shark hanging from a fishing pole.

Parade co-chair Jordan McLaren said she is also excited for this parade because it is her first year helping to organize a student activity of this size. McLaren said spectators can expect green castles, blue castles, and yellow brick roads on some of the floats this year to go along with the “Wizard of Oz” Homecoming theme.

“We have a lot of community entries from not only Charleston, but also Mattoon, surrounding areas and even the Pana High School band, which is an hour and a half away,” McLaren said. “We have a lot of new entries this year.”

The whole semester of Homecoming planning has been leading up to this parade, McLaren said.

She said, the Novelty section will probably be the most interesting category to watch. This category is not composed of traditional floats and cars. Instead, it’s composed of unique things such as lawnmowers.

A haunted house called “The Night Terrors of Effingham” has even registered to participate this year.

“Placing (the haunted house) was something that we definitely put some thought into,” McLaren said. “We didn’t want them next to junior Miss Princesses and Girl Scouts. So, when placing them we were very careful as not to scare any of our guests.”

The parade will begin with what the coordinators call the parade’s “VIP’ members.

These include groups and people such as the Panther Marching Band, the Grand Marshal, cheerleaders, the Homecoming Court, the Charleston Fire and Police Departments and Eastern President Glassman.

The Paradise Equestrian Center will take up the rear of the parade because they have horses.

“It’ll be a long day for us, but we’re all so excited and definitely want people to come out,” McLaren said. “There are some interesting entries and it’s not just the Eastern community so you’re not going to just see the RSOs that you’re used to.”

The parade is scheduled to march from 7th Street to around the downtown square. Then it will go to 6th Street, then Polk Avenue, down Division Street before ending on Grant Street.

Chrissy Miller can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].