Friends, families, alumni come together for parade
Maroon and gold flags were waving through the air Saturday morning as the Homecoming Parade commenced.
The Marching Chips led the parade with the Central Michigan University Fight Song, cheering and getting alumni and students fired up for the game taking place later in the afternoon.
This year was the first year that the International Student Association was in the homecoming parade. Being the largest student organization on campus, many said they were excited to experience it.
"We're very happy and excited to get a chance to hold our flag in the parade," said international graduate student Rahul Gopireddy. "Being in America and being able to hold our flag high is great. We're not used to this cold but we get to wear our personal dresses and cheer for our country."
The alumni float was followed by the cheer team, which was passing out candy to all the kids lining the street. The cheerleaders were doing a CMU cheer on the side in front of the 50-Year Reunion tent, holding up letters for alumni to chant along.
One major part of homecoming is that the alumni can come back and celebrate their alma mater with and meet with old friends from all over the state. One family of alumni was enjoying the parade near the Leadership Institute, reminiscing and taking photos. Gayle Greenfield-Blackstock graduated in 1963 and came back with her husband and daughter to celebrate CMU.
"I fell in love with Central because it wasn't too small or too big," said Dawn Frederick, class of 1990. "The students were very welcoming and down to earth. It was easy to fit in. It's still the same as it was before, very welcoming and fun."
Sweeney and Merril, or 'Swerril' had a float called "Suite Life of Swerril" based off of a Disney Channel show. They featured a hotel called the "Chipton."
All of the CMU dance teams were performing in the parade, including the Pom Pom club doing routines to popular dance songs and Infusion Dance Team walking along with their team mates.
"I've been in parades before with my teams but it's my first year performing with Infusion," said Waterford freshman Amy Beaupied. "It's fun to be able to dance in front of my school and hangout with my team throughout the whole day."
The float for the Charles V. Parke library was also decked out with a Disney theme and had someone dressed up as Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" surrounded by books. Following them was White Pine Pipes and Drums.
President George Ross and his wife Elizabeth rode proudly through the streets of Mount Pleasant, followed by this years Grand Marshall and Michigan House Representative Kevin Cotter.
Larzelere Hall's float was pirate themed with a student dressed as a mermaid being pulled on a skateboard.
The parade also included organizations such as the CMU Elementary Program, MP Fitness Club and Together CMU. Families and friends walked along the parade cheering for each float.
Trout Hall was chanting along to CMU cheers while following their Lion King float, which read "Dreams do come true, beat NIU." Their float included Mufasa as the CMU team and Scar as NIU fighting for the win.
"My favorite thing about homecoming is seeing alumni come back," Ross said. "I met alumni today that graduated in 1964 and hadn't been back since. Their eyes were wide with spirit and it's nice to see alumni back at their alma mater. It's great to see everyone come together."