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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA alumni anticipate Homecoming Parade

Rebecca Noble
A participant in the UA’s 101st Homecoming Parade on Oct. 24, 2015 shows off his Wildcat pride. This year’s Homecoming Parade will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28.

The University of Arizona Alumni Association continues to celebrate one of its favorite traditions with the Homecoming Parade, which kicks off this Saturday, Oct. 28. 

Marching on the UA Mall, the parade includes more than 50 floats, Homecoming royalty and the Pride of Arizona marching band. The parade will begin at 2 p.m. and has a history of an overwhelming turnout by the UA community.

A tradition that began in 1914, and has only been suspended for World Wars I and II, continues to bring students and alumni together to celebrate the history of UA. A member of the Junior Honorary Chain Gang, Abby Williams, is particularly looking forward to this years’ homecoming parade.

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“This year is especially exciting for me, because I am number 17 in Chain Gang and since it’s Homecoming 2017, everyone in my lineage from the past 10 years is coming back to celebrate,” Williams said. “A ton of other alumni come back as well and we spend all day Saturday together doing different Chain Gang and UA traditions.”

Student honorary groups are a rich part of UA history and contribute to the homecoming traditions. According to the UA Junior Honorary Chain Gang’s website, the group consists of “the 35 most qualified, ambitious, and involved Juniors at the UA who pride themselves on school spirit, forming life long bonds, and passing down traditions that will live in the throughout the history of the University of Arizona.” 

The name of the organization originates from their motto, “like a chain we are linked”, which comes from their practice of passing down their number to an upcoming honorary.

“We have a whole week of activities leading up to the parade,” Williams said. “In the parade itself, we all ride on a school bus that we decorate and stick our heads out of the windows and cheer.”

Hoping to make the parade more competitive and attract more student groups to participate in creating the floats, this year’s parade will include a competition, with a decorative prize belt for the winning float.

“The big deal that we have with this year’s parade is with our float entries,” said Denise Shorbe, Project Specialist at the Alumni Association. “We’re doing a competition this year and we’ve incorporated an actual prize that will be for the winner. They’ll have a photo opportunity with the belt and we’ll put it on display here at the alumni association.”

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Alumni groups also use the parade to honor their members. Shorbe said this is another example of tradition that has been carried over from previous parades.

The African American alumni group will have four cars in the parade for the four members they are honoring this year, and the Native American alumni group will be presenting the recently crowned Miss Native American Arizona Queen in the parade.

The parade will also feature the graduating class of 1967 as its honored guests. Wearing red to show their Wildcat spirit, the class of ’67 will walk together in the parade for the Wildcat Reunion March.

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