Mankato locals and Minnesota State University, Mankato students alike were lined up and down all of Warren Street last Saturday for the annual Homecoming Parade. The event was a lively kickoff to a big Homecoming Weekend after Friday’s Bonfire was canceled due to the weather.
On and off campus, many groups and organizations presented in the parade, donning streamers, tinsel and posterboard in school colors atop their cars to raise the Homecoming spirit.
One of the cars driving down the road during the parade was advertising the MSU Department of Art & Design. The car was ornamented with student-made artwork, with a large, hand-made (and functioning!) spinning wheel reminiscent of the one from “Wheel of Fortune” sitting atop the car, gleaming in the sun.
According to Todd Shanafelt, one of the Art & Design faculty, the reason behind entering his float in the parade was to shine a light on the students and their artwork.
“It’s good to promote our students and their work, and the importance of self-expression… it’s good for the community,” Shanafelt said.
Homecoming spirit was highly present all throughout the day, especially at the parade. When asked about what Homecoming spirit meant to him, Shanafelt replied that it’s all about “asking questions, working as a collective, and diving into curiosity.”
Another group participating in the parade was the International Student Association. Students from all different backgrounds walked in the Parade, each holding their own country’s national flag to represent their home.
Visibility was one of the main reasons for walking in the Parade, according to International Student Association President, Majd Alharbi.
“The ISA is a huge part of MSU. We’re a part of a lot of departments on campus, so it’s really nice to show people who we are, and that we’re here,” Alharbi said.
To Alharbi, Homecoming spirit is all about coming together as one.
“To me, it’s basically everyone coming together. All the organizations are coming together and walking together, and today we’re all Mavericks, not just one organization,” Alharbi said.
One of the off-campus companies present in the Parade was Hot 96.7, a local radio station in Mankato, playing contemporary hits mixed with the hottest club tracks. The reasoning behind joining the parade for them was simply that they thought it was fun.
“I always thought it would be cool to be part of a parade. As an entertainer, I’ve always loved to be in front of a crowd, bring smiles on people’s faces. It’s in my blood,” a Hot 96.7 worker said.
By the handful, packets of ramen were showered across the parade’s crowd by the radio float as they answered the question of what Homecoming spirit means to them.
“To me, Homecoming spirit is that everyone is welcome, no one is shut out, and everyone has a good time!”
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