Kent State community revels in Homecoming Parade

Kent State cheerleaders participate in the Homecoming Parade Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017.

Dylan Reynolds

Anticipation for Kent’s annual Homecoming Parade was building long before participants stepped off.

As parade participants registered and lined up Saturday morning, a sense of excitement spread along the row of floats on Midway Drive.

Some participants were parade veterans, while others marched for the first time. One of the newcomers was Stephen Francis, a sophomore visual communication design major who marched with Delta Chi Fraternity.

Francis said he was looking forward “to be marching with all these lovely men, and kind of …” He winced as a Jeep loudly honked its horn somewhere back in the line. “ … see all of these people,” he finished, laughing off the scare.

The parade took off at 10 a.m., taking a left on Main Street and continuing to Franklin Avenue. Along the stretch of Main Street from Midway Drive to Willow Street, a crowd of students, alumni and community members stood by the curb watching the festivities.

“The atmosphere is very happy, very school-pride,” said Lauren Howley, a junior managerial marketing major. “I mostly like the bands when they come, because I feel like when they always have music, that adds an element to the parade.”

Howley and her friend Jessica Habat, a senior marketing major, attended the parade before, and they agreed this year’s weather made the event more viewer-friendly.

Further down Main Street at the fraternity houses, crowds of students jubilantly cheered during the parade from fenced-in parties. Participants who noticed friends at the houses ran over to say hello and high-five them.

“Looking good,” one audience member shouted, to which a court member replied, “That’s right.”

After the Kent State marching band got the crowd clapping to school fight songs and “God Bless America,” students went crazy for President Beverly Warren, who rolled past in the passenger seat of a Corvette, cheering “Go Flashes!” back at students.

After this, a variety of student organizations, marching bands and local groups paraded past, tossing candy to children and vying for attention.

A person in a squirrel costume ran into the median and climbed halfway up a tree. An aggressive poodle in the audience nearly attacked a larger poodle in the parade. Chef Christian Booher threw candy from the Fork in the Road food truck. The Flash mascot strolled past with a large group of student athletes.

“It’s a lot of fun, a lot of people out there,” said Grant Campbell, a percussionist in the Kent State marching band. “Everyone’s happy, making a lot of noise.”

This was the senior finance major’s third Homecoming Parade.

“It’s nice to see people come together and fill all of downtown Kent, which is just very interesting and very fun,” Campbell said.

 Dylan Reynolds is the business and neighborhoods reporter. Contact him at [email protected]