Parade features U founder’s descendant, many student groups

Justin Erickson

As the University celebrates its 150 years of existence, the Homecoming Parade will honor the descendants of the University’s founder.
George Pillsbury, a direct descendant of the late University founder and former Gov. John Pillsbury, will be the grand marshall in Saturday’s parade along with his wife, Sally.
The parade begins at 9 a.m. and will run along University Avenue.
Pillsbury said he is honored to be a part of this year’s homecoming parade.
“The state of Minnesota has been very good to me,” he said. “I feel obligated to pay as much back to the state as I can.”
Though Pillsbury will be leading the parade, University students will be the main focus.
Student participation is high and many new floats can be seen in this year’s parade, said parade coordinator Kristen Moore.
“We have been bombarded with a wide variety of student groups this year,” Moore said. “We wanted to really emphasize students at the University this year.”
Some student groups are joining the Homecoming procession for the first time this year.
The American Indian Cultural Center will have its first float ever. Jackie Blackbird, cultural center board member and float coordinator, said the group is following the sesquicentennial theme, “Quest Through Time,” and the parade slogan, “Our Ancestors of the Past are With Us Today.”
The cultural center’s float will feature cultural blankets, pictures of chiefs, and dancers in traditional attire.
“There has been a lack of American Indian involvement in the parade and this year’s theme matched perfect,” Blackbird said.
Along with the student groups, the greek community will be well represented. There will be a total of 10 floats, with two fraternity houses and one sorority house sponsoring each float.
Two houses who consistently find themselves winning the float competition are the St. Paul fraternities Alpha Gamma Rho and the Farmhouse.
“Our house takes a lot of pride in our float and we compete heavily with AGR (Alpha Gama Rho),” said Farmhouse president Matt Schmiesing.
Having been on the winning team the past two years, Farmhouse is hoping to make it three in a row. They will have to beat AGR however.
AGR’s theme is “Growing a Tradition,” focusing on the fact that the St. Paul campus is a land-grant campus, AGR is an agricultural fraternity and they are on an agricultural campus.
“We always have the goal to beat Farmhouse,” said Tim Kinches, AGR float co-chair.