Parade extends hand to community

In addition to USF’s student organizations’ floats, this year’s Homecoming Parade will feature several participants from the Tampa Bay community.

Ashley Foss, chairwoman for the Homecoming Steering Committee, said the parade has changed a lot for this year.

“We have developed a better application process and have double the length,” Foss said.

Last year, some questions were raised by some student organizations who were told they could not participate in the event because of a lost application on the day of the event. But Foss said the process is more efficient this year, and hopefully, no problems will occur.

The parade, which started at Lee Roy Collins Boulevard last year and ended at Bull Run Drive, will now start at Magnolia and travel all the way down to Bull Run.

“We did this to help our goal which is someday get the parade onto Fowler Avenue,” Foss said.

Foss added that the increased quality of the floats would also help with getting the parade onto Fowler.

“We have had an overwhelming response for floats this year, over 70 floats,” she said. “That includes the local community as well.”

Dwayne Isaacs, Homecoming Night Parade chairman, said the community floats are more professionally done and that his main goal was to reach out to the community.

“Right now Rio Bravo, Busch Gardens and Outback Steakhouse/ESPN are all participating in the parade and designing floats,” Isaacs said.

The total number of floats, Foss said, is a comparable amount to last year’s, but the quality and interest has grown more this year.

A new addition to the parade will be Blake High School’s marching band. Foss said this is the first time that a band has ever played in the parade.

“This is an improvement from last year,” she said.

This year’s grand marshall will be Sen. Lesley Miller from District 21 in the Hillsborough area, Foss added.

Isaacs said the planning for the event began at the end of last semester, and his main goal was to pave the way for the parade to one day be on Fowler.

Overall, Foss said the parade has come a long way since the beginning and people won’t be disappointed.

“It is a wonderful event, and it has changed a lot,” she said.

The Homecoming Night Parade will take place Friday at 6 p.m. and will last until 7:30 p.m.

Contact Stefanie Greenat