Save the date: Homecoming parade set for Oct. 23

This fall's Homecoming celebration will include something not held for decades: a parade. Working since January on a proposal, student organizers received permission last month to organize a parade for Oct. 23, the Sunday that opens Homecoming week. The parade will start at 2 p.m. in downtown Ames.

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An opportunity for ISU students who aren't members of a Greek fraternity or sorority to get involved in Homecoming is a key purpose of the parade, said Allison Pitz, senior in marketing and management and co-chair of the student 2016 Homecoming planning committee. Drawing the Ames community into the university's fall celebration is another.

While this fall's parade is a pilot project, "we hope we launch something that sticks, that becomes a Homecoming tradition," Pitz said, noting that most large public universities hold a Homecoming parade. Iowa State homecomings included a parade of the floats-and-bands variety for about 25 years starting in 1923, but smaller jaunts, typically through the Greek neighborhood south of campus, on and off since then.

Student planners don't intend to replace or replicate the former spring Veishea parade, Pitz said; quite the opposite. She said a downtown route has worked well for Fourth of July and Ames High Homecoming parades. The city and downtown business community support a Sunday event, she said, which planners also favor to eliminate class conflicts for Iowa State students who participate.

She anticipates the parade to be an hour or less in length.

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A few entrants are confirmed, but Pitz said the task of recruiting parade entries will accelerate around Sept. 1. The focus will be on student groups, particularly those that can perform or somehow showcase an activity while on the move. Faculty and staff who advise student organizations are encouraged to mention this opportunity to their group leaders; details will be shared after fall semester starts.