Spirited parade sets celebratory

Mark Baumgarten

Members of the University community lined University Avenue on Saturday to show school spirit and support the 110-plus community organizations in the annual Homecoming parade.
University Avenue was closed from 11th Avenue to Oak Street to allow a maroon and gold entourage of floats and bands to invade the University. Students, alumni and community members who woke to see the 9 a.m. parade were treated with an eyeful of color and an earful of spirit.
“This is such a grand tradition,” said gubernatorial candidate Hubert H. “Skip” Humphrey III. “It unites the community.” Humphrey was one of many political figures to bring their campaigns to the community via the parade.
Along both sides of the street, that community covered a wide range of ages. And along with the different ages came different tastes. “I liked when the plane went by,” said 6-year-old Paul Orstad. “I liked the songs they were playing.”
While the sound of the Village People’s “In the Navy” brought a smile to Orstad’s face, University alumnus Chip Glaser preferred the marching band.
“They bring a real flavor of the college athletics and the college atmosphere,” said Glaser.
A college atmosphere is what the Homecoming Parade Committee hoped to create, said Emily Jones, co-chairperson of the committee. She said many obstacles stood in their way.
Besides supervising the parade’s 110-plus organizations, the committee was forced to find a replacement for the original master of ceremonies, KARE-11 news anchor Paul Magers.
When the football game’s start time changed, the committee had to move up the parade’s start time from 11 a.m. to 9 a.m., presenting another setback.
“Because of the time change, we’ve done a lot of advertising,” Jones said.
But with a little help from the pleasant weather, the crowd didn’t seem to mind the 9 a.m. starting time.
“It’s a little too early,” said College of Liberal Arts sophomore Andrea Ollhoff, “but I think once you’re up it’s OK.”
University organizations didn’t appear to be affected by the early start either. This year, 20 more groups than last year participated in the parade.
“We’re bringing out groups that have been in the parade maybe once before,” said Jones. Among these groups were the Nordic Ski Team, the Disabled Student Cultural Center and the Center for Medieval Studies.
Along with the newcomers, the staple groups of the Homecoming parade were able to show what their hard work had produced. The University Marching Band headed the parade, setting the mood for all groups involved.
“We put in about 200 hours,” said Institute of Technology junior and Farmhouse member Nicholas Dille, in reference to his house’s float, titled “U-Knighted.” Dille’s float was one of many greek and residential hall floats at the end of the parade, built for Homecoming competition.
After the floats passed by, the crowd, left with fresh memories of maroon and gold, headed for the football game.
“It’s really cool that the community comes out to support the campus and the football team,” said Carlson School of Management sophomore Adam Rowan. “I’ve never seen so much school spirit here.”