Homecoming Spirit Thrives Despite RainNov. 11, 1998
Baylor University students and alumni celebrated the spirit of Baylor during Homecoming Week Nov. 2¡8. The Baylor University Chamber of Commerce and the Baylor Alumni Association planned a week full of fun, fellowship and Big 12 football for the 25,000 alumni and their families who traveled to Baylor from all over the nation.
Homecoming is traditionally focused on alumni returning to campus. For some students, like seniors Michael Martin from Lometa, Texas, and Elizabeth Harris from Atlanta, Ga., this was the last chance to celebrate Homecoming as a student.
"Homecoming has always been a fun time, but this year I tried not to miss anything since its my last chance to see it all as a student," Martin said. "I went to the parade and the game even though it was raining."
Many other Baylor students, alumni and fans joined Martin to celebrate Homecoming regardless of the weather. Although the morning of the Homecoming parade was cold and wet, KWBU student commentator Joy Cox, a junior from Irving, said that the parade, which is the largest collegiate homecoming parade in the nation, brought alumni, students and people from the Waco community together to support Baylor.
"We really saw a lot of support for the university from the community this year with the Waco High School and University High School bands marching in the parade," Cox said. "Area businesses and people from the community were also there for Baylor's homecoming parade."
The parade began at 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, on Austin Ave. in downtown Waco. More than 150 entries, which included student organizations, local groups, political dignitaries and Homecoming Queen nominees, wound through downtown Waco to the Baylor campus.
KWTX¡TV's coverage of the parade, which has been broadcast in the Waco area each year since 1955, was carried live on the Internet, accompanied by still photos of parade entries.
Baylor's Homecoming tradition dates back to 1909, and events have been held annually since World War II. The parade, which is believed to be the largest collegiate homecoming parade in the nation, joins a bonfire, football game, musical variety shows and numerous class reunions to offer participants a wide range of activities.
This year's Pigskin Revue, another Baylor tradition, showcased award¡winning student acts form the 1998 All¡University Sing Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m., Friday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m in Waco Hall. The 1998 homecoming queen, Abigail Pfiester, a Georgetown senior, was crowned during Thursday's Pigskin. Pfiester was nominated by Mortar Board, a national honor society.
"Pigskin Revue was one of the highlights of Homecoming this year," Harris said. "I'm graduating in May so I didn't want to miss it because it's kind of unique to Baylor. The performances were very entertaining."
Late Friday night, thousands of alumni and students prepared the football team for the game against Kansas State at the annual pep rally and bonfire at 9 p.m. The bonfire returned to its traditional site on Fountain Mall, between the Marrs McLean and Sid Richardson science buildings
This year's bonfire was reduced in size from previous years due to its location in the center of campus. Despite the smaller bonfire and sprinkle of rain, thousands still turned out to prepare for Saturday's football game.
"The pep rally and bonfire have been the best part of Homecoming," Martin said, though he said he wished the fire could have been bigger. "There were plenty of people cheering for Baylor, and I'm glad that we have a bonfire."
Two hours before the big game, Snickers Touchdown Alley opened for football fans to enjoy live music, vendors, tents and games for children that were set up at the south end of Floyd Casey Stadium. Several sororities and fraternities hosted tailgate parties for students and alumni.
The match¡up between the Baylor Bears and the Kansas State Wildcats began at 1 p.m. at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears played hard through the intermittent rain, but the nation's second¡ranked team proved too strong, as KSU handed Baylor its first Big 12 Homecoming defeat, 49¡6.
"I would never miss the Homecoming game no matter who we played or what the weather was like," Harris said. "Everyone needs to realize that Baylor is still building a team, so we may not beat teams like Kansas State, but we are improving."
Extravaganza, the third on¡campus dance at Baylor University, was held at 8 p.m. Saturday. Pat Green, a well¡known local country singer, was the featured performer.
Andy McClain, Homecoming chairman for Chamber, said that the dance was moved from 5th street to Russell Gym due to the rain.
About 600 people showed up for the dance. Passing Strangers performed first, and then Green played for about two hours, McClain said.
Homecoming was a memorable experience for alumni and students who look forward to future celebrations.
"We all had to stay inside because of the weather, but it was still a great Homecoming," Martin said. "I hope I'll be able to make it back next year as an alumnus."