By Emily Loper
The 2010 Homecoming Parade will take to the streets of the “Wild, Wild West” at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The parade will feature exhibitions by clubs and social clubs and a performance by the Big Purple marching band.
Samantha Adkins, senior Alumni Relations officer, said the parade will depart from ACU Drive and onto East North 16th Street, before turning on Campus Court. It will end at Coliseum Way, where floats will park before Homecoming Chapel.
Adkins said the parade will last about 30 minutes, and more than 20 floats will compete for the best float award this year. Many student organizations sponsor floats, including social clubs, the Freshman Action Council and Weekend Campaigns, among others.
Adkins said the theme of this year’s parade, “Wild, Wild West,” is a spinoff from the general Homecoming theme, “A Texas Homecoming with Willie and the Gang.” Each float will be judged on its incorporation of the theme.
According to the official contest rules of the contest, float judging also depends on creativity, enthusiasm of the participants and overall appearance.
Adkins, six-time parade director, said this year’s six judges view the floats from various places on the parade route. The judges are staff senators, members of the Abilene community elected by staff to serve as their representatives.
A new addition to this year’s parade, Adkins said, is the use of trucks – in keeping with the Texan theme – rather than convertibles for members of the Homecoming Court and the Coming Home Court, as well as other significant parade guests.
Mark-John Eberhardt, a member of the parade’s steering committee, said his job includes procuring the trucks for the parade. Hanner Chevrolet in Baird will provide more than 15 trucks scheduled to appear.
Eberhardt, junior business management major from Abilene, said preparation for the parade started as early as the second week of school, with Tuesday Chapel meetings for the entire Homecoming committee, weekly meetings every Tuesday afternoon and two Saturday workdays.
“The parade is a way to bring back past alumni and current students to get them excited for all of the Homecoming festivities,” Eberhardt said. “It is a great tradition that a lot of people from the Abilene community can get involved in.”
Adkins said the winner of the float contest will be announced during halftime at the football game, after the crowning of the Homecoming Queen.