Homecoming parade sets the day afloat

Minnesota State’s annual Homecoming parade thrusted Mavericks into school spirit Saturday morning with the support of the Student Events Team. 

“I think the parade is the one that really is able to connect it with the community,” Events chair Ryan Leistikow said. “Being able to see the different student organizations in person physically there, and really just take it all in for what MSU has to offer, and what Mankato has to offer with the different community organizations that were there.”

The parade featured fan favorites such as the Maverick Machine, which incorporated alumni alongside current members. 

“To my surprise, the Maverick Machine came out in force,” Leistikow said. “We were shocked, and we were loving how many people they brought out and how big of a presence they had.”

Tuba player Ethan Dempster was one of the many performers to march in Saturday’s parade. The highlight of the day for him was, “seeing the crowd’s reaction.”

“It almost gives the band more energy to see how upbeat the crowd is,” Dempster said.

Another key component of the parade tradition was the Mankato Area Shrine Club, or the Mankato T-birds, a group of men on miniature cars riding around the street.

“Everyone loved it, it was so much fun and they’re just funny to watch,” Leistikow said.

The International Student Association was a part of Saturday’s festivities as well, tying in Homecoming’s paradise theme. 

“We can’t have a parade without not acknowledging them,” Leistikow said. “They bring so many people and they really do a great job of showing how diverse MSU is at the parade to the community.”

Parade floaters arrive in the early morning, ensuring everything is in order and the route is under control. 

“It requires a lot of teamwork and communication between the student activity staff that really all put it on from initial check in,” Leistikow said. “Directing people down to the end of the road to which side for the lineup, and then making sure the VIPs get into the right spots as well.” 

With efforts to plan the parade starting as early as this summer, the Student Events Team worked rigorously to gather a list of participants. First time registration fees were 50 percent off, drawing in a larger crowd than usual. Regardless of the hours of practice and hard work, the day was made to be another success in the books. 

“So many people come out to it, and the student groups love it,” Leistikow said. “They register totally for free, and they are always itching to get into the parade and get noticed.

The MSU Homecoming parade will continue to be a tradition for future Mavericks, alumni, and the Mankato community young and old to enjoy. 

“We really appreciate the support of everyone that came out, everyone that registered and everyone that showed up to make the morning so fantastic and the parade such a fantastic event,” Leistikow said.

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at mercedes.kauphusman@msu.edu

Header Photo: The Homecoming Parade at Minnesota State sets the tone for the remainder of Saturday’s events, including the football game and Homecoming dance. It incorporates fan favorites such as the Maverick Machine and the Mankato T-birds. (Alexis Darkow/The Reporter)

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