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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Homecoming parade

Ashlee Salamon / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Ashlee Salamon / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The 2009 Homecoming Parade took off from the UA Mall Saturday morning. The parade began at Campbell Avenue and marched the length of the Mall to Old Main and back to Campbell Avenue again, encircling a sea of students and alumni decked out in Wildcat gear.

“”This is fun, a lot more people this year,”” Kay Harper, an alumna of 50 years, said, “”All the red shirts running around, I love it.””

White tents covered the Mall, each dedicated to a different club, college or other organization, allowing returning alumni to find their former classmates.

“”It’s good to come back and see the college and bring my daughter back to see where mommy went to school and to root on the Wildcats,”” nursing alumni Amanda Bennett said.

In addition to the crowds of people barbecuing and tailgating, the event featured a food court and beer tent. People broke away from their tents long enough to line the edge of the Mall and watch the various parade floats coast by and cheer on their fellow Wildcats.

“”It was a great way to get ready for an exciting game,”” elementary education junior Katy Shrader said.

President Robert Shelton rode by in a vintage convertible followed by former UA president from 1982-91, Henry Koffler. Other notable alumni featured in the sports Hall of Fame, such as Amy Linnen, track; J.T. Snow, baseball; and Chris Nallen, golf, also made appearances.

Past homecoming queens dating back to the 1940s cruised by in old convertibles, along with the alumni band, complete with alumni baton twirlers, which proved a fan favorite.

“”It’s fun to see that they can still twirl even after they’ve graduated,”” Shrader said.

Each float paused in front of Bear Down Gymnasium, where an announcer described the float as well as the organization it belonged to. The floats were then judged by eight different people, ranging from professors to the Alumni Association president. A few alumni noted that the parades and their floats seem to have downsized over the years.

“”It’s not quite the way it was when we were down here in the ‘60s when it was … downtown and they had gigantic Rose Bowl parade-type floats,”” alumni Linda Bergstrom said. “”We worked for weeks making the floats. It has definitely downsized.””

Theta Tau, the co-ed professional engineering fraternity, is notorious for designing the most impressive float each year. This year its float featured a large wooden wagon on four spinning wheels, with fraternity members standing on top.

“”Very, very creative floats by the students,”” alumni Mike Bernas said. “”Theta Tau’s is usually the best, the kids are enjoying it.””

The parade was a kick-off to a victorious game against the Washington State Cougars.

“”Great energy, good atmosphere to come to Homecoming, even as an opponent,”” Rick Wood, a Washington State Cougar fan, said.

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