It’s been 94 years since the University of Georgia celebrated its first homecoming parade. Although some traditions have evolved to suit modern-day life in Athens, one thing remains – student pride. This year it was stronger than ever with over 74 campus organizations represented by students who marched, rode and danced along the streets of downtown Athens for the annual homecoming parade last Friday evening.
The festive parade commenced on Hancock Street and proceeded to College Avenue where the parade ended. Members of the Homecoming Court led the way for the groups which rode in the back of cars adorned with UGA-spirited decorations.
As reported in the Red & Black, Caleb Stevens, the parade’s emcee, spoke about how the spirit was an important part of the parade.
“The theme was Home is where the Arch is,'” Stevens told the university newspaper. “Whether you went to UGA in the 60s, 70s, are a current student, or whether you’re a recent grad, this is Athens and this is our home.”
UGA alum Aaron Hale, who recently graduated with his masters from Grady College, strives to attend the parade every year, especially now that he has a toddler.
"For me, the parade is a good way to experience an annual tradition,” Hale said. “Not much changes in the parade from one year to the next but my two-year-old's reaction changes every year. This year she loved waving at all of the people on the floats – she just got real giddy that all of these people were waving at her."
Ariane Wong, the Homecoming Committee’s Parade Chair, told the Red & Black that the student organizations present spoke to the climate of school spirit and diversity that has been present throughout the entire week of homecoming. Through the inclusion of groups like the Caribbean and Indian Student Associations, as well as the Guide Dog Foundation, Wong said a larger representation of campus was involved in the parade than ever before.
In the float competition, the 21 entries were judged based on their overall presentation, energy, UGA theme, and creativity. UGA Homecoming later announced on Facebook that UGA Habitat for Humanity had won first place.
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