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Parade to feature sample of the past

Nov. 6, 1998

BY JULIA MCKENZIE

Reporter

Julia_McKenzie@baylor.edu

Green and gold will spill into the streets of Waco Saturday for one of Baylor's best-known traditions, the homecoming parade.

The parade begins at 8 a.m. on Austin Avenue between 11th and 17th streets.

About 3,000 parade participants are expected to march, ride, drive and 'float' down Austin Avenue to Fourth Street, go under Interstate Highway 35 and turn onto Fifth Street, where they will enter campus at about 9 a.m., according to Roxanne Wilson, homecoming parade chairman and a Chandler, Ariz., junior.

The parade will end on Fifth Street in front of the Hankamer School of Business at approximately 11:30 a.m. or noon, Wilson said.

'The parade is pretty much true to form this year,' she said.

The 1998 homecoming parade is reminiscent of Baylor's first parade, held in 1909, but it has kept in step with the changing times.

According to the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, spectators of Baylor's first parade listened to the lively tunes of local bands and the clippity-clop of horse-drawn carriages. A crowd of 5,000 cheered for their favorite student and civic organizations and for a long line of political dignitaries.

Likewise, those who line the streets for this year's parade will hear local musicians, including the Baylor University Golden Wave Band and about six other bands, as well as the familiar clippity-clop that accompanies the original Wells Fargo stagecoach.

Chamber expects 300,000 people to view the parade, either from the curb or from their couch (the parade has been televised for over 25 years). Onlookers can cheer for the 150 entries, which range from student and civic organizations to political dignitaries.

Floats became part of Baylor's homecoming parades in 1915. In the 1950s, float builders first tied Baylor's homecoming rivals into their themes, and by the 1960s almost all the floats predicted Baylor victories. This year's parade, however, will feature about 15 floats with a variety of themes, Wilson said.

In addition to the 13 organizational floats, a few are sponsored by the community, including M&M Marrs. Wilson said this is the first year M&M Marrs built a float for the parade.

Like the tradition of homecoming floats, the tradition of selecting a homecoming queen has evolved over time. The first official homecoming queen was selected in 1934. Judges along the parade route rated each float, and the nominee riding on the best float was named queen. Today, judges interview the nominees and announce the new homecoming queen before the parade begins.

Floats and Homecoming Queen nominees will not be the only participants getting applause if the Texas Datsun Roadster Owner Club has anything to do with it. Wilson said the award-winning roadster club will escort a number of political dignitaries in convertible Datsun Roadsters from the 1960s and 1970s.

Other participants in this year's homecoming parade include cheerleaders, high school drill teams and sports teams, Miss Teen Texas Achievement and Miss Texas Achievement. Representatives of Student Foundation will ride bicycles, children involved with the Piper Center for Family Studies and Child Development will march and Baylor Waterski Team will pull its boat, Wilson said.

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