Rain doesn’t affect parade attendance

Brady Averill

It rained on Saturday’s homecoming parade, but the crowds still gathered along University Avenue Southeast.

People either stood under umbrellas or got wet to watch, what many call, their favorite homecoming event.

Not only do some University students drag themselves out of bed for the parade, but alumni, families and people from the University community make the parade an annual ritual.

“The parade is always a blast to watch,” said Bob Christensen of Wausau, Wis., whose daughter attends the University.

It was his third year watching the parade, and it’s a highlight of his annual visit to see his daughter, he said.

Delta Chi fraternity alumnus Dave Tuomala, who graduated in 1990, brought his family to the parade. As he looked at his children sitting in a stroller dressed in maroon and gold, he said they don’t know yet, but someday, they’ll be Gophers fans.

Phi Kappa Psi fraternity alumnus Geoff Kempner, a 1995 graduate, saw the parade for the first time in eight years. It was good to get back, he said.

He said he looked forward to hearing the “Minnesota Rouser” during the parade and seeing other fraternity alumni.

Campus has changed like “night and day” since the early 1990s, he said, adding that the University focuses more on campus life now.

Fraternities and sororities haven’t changed much, Kempner said.

But he said he was disappointed that not many fraternity house fronts were decorated.

The Phi Kappa Psi’s house front read “Better watch your back 2004” and “You got Goph’d.” Kappa Sigma fraternity, Kappa Alpha Theta and Alpha Omicron Phi sororities helped make the house front.

Members had built the design for weeks, but Friday put it outside the house. Some worked nonstop until 7 a.m. Saturday finishing the project, junior Christian Nagel said.

Nagel spearheaded the house-front crew. Describing his exhaustion, he rubbed his eyes as he talked about the work the crew put into it.

He said he was too tired from working all night and planned on sleeping instead of going to the football game.

Juniors Rachael Haave and Yvette Grabau showed up for the parade, donning maroon and gold. They said they like to come every year, especially for free stuff handed out during the event.

“It seems to be the thing the most people come to every year besides the football game,” Haave said.

Despite the cool weather and rain, the parade even drew students from nearby colleges.

Rachel Wilkinson, a student at Northwestern College in St. Paul, said she had always wanted to come to a University homecoming parade.

“(It’s) better than our parade,” she said.