Homecoming parade replaced by carnival

Tradition will return in 2019

T-R FILE PHOTO - Scenes of the MHS Bobcats football team riding down Main Street, like this one from 2017, will be on hold this year. The district and Oktemberfest officials had to deal with conflicting schedules. The parade was cancelled this year and is set to return next year — meanwhile, student leaders decided to instead hold the “Cats Carnival” and a “mini parade” for the Homecoming Court in place of a traditional parade.

Marshalltown Schools administrators have acknowledged pushback by some in the community after word got out that the traditional Homecoming parade would not happen this year.

Instead, student leaders decided to hold the “Cat’s Carnival” and a “mini parade” for Homecoming court candidates in and around the Marshalltown High School sports complex. The traditional parade is set to return in 2019.

“It’s on hold for one year,” said MHS Principal Jacque Wyant. “We were handed a football schedule … the state (Iowa High School Athletic Association) tells us who we’re playing and what day we are playing on.”

That game against Sioux City West will take place during the annual Marshalltown Oktemberfest celebration. School administrators talked with festival officials and considered the impact of the July 19 tornado on many students and community members. They decided a Homecoming parade would not work this year.

“The teams and the clubs at MHS that would’ve participated in the parade … will still be able to do something,” said MHS special education teacher and Homecoming coordinator Emily Hunt of the Cats Carnival. “Kids are going to be able to go up and interact and talk and play games and stuff like that with the different clubs and different teams.”

The carnival will be held 6 p.m. Sept. 26 and will include MHS clubs and teams, each with its own station. The event will be open to the public.

Preceding the carnival at 5:30 p.m. will be a mini parade, where the yet-to-be-determined Homecoming court will ride Elmwood Country Club golf carts and have a chance to be recognized by the community.

The mini parade is set to take place on the frontage road near the MHS sports complex.

“A lot of concerns people are having, I think, will go away after that Wednesday night,” Hunt said. “This is something that the kids have come up with … they were well aware that (the Homecoming parade) wasn’t going to be able to happen.”

Two of the students who helped come up with the idea for a carnival and mini parade were MHS Student Senate President Shakira Herrera and Vice President Stella Roseburrough-Borras. The senior girls said they’re looking forward to the unique 2018 Homecoming celebrations.

“The biggest change for me is not having a parade,” Roseburrough-Borras said. “I think the Cat’s Carnival will include a lot of the aspects of the parade, just in a different format.”

She said all 68 members of Student Senate helped brainstorm the idea for a carnival and mini parade.

Herrera said she isn’t phased by not having a “traditional” Homecoming experience this year.

“I’m feeling pretty good about it, I think the Cats Carnival is going to be a good alternative to the parade,” she said. “MHS groups will be including the community and be reminding them that a little setback isn’t going to be taking away from homecoming and the homecoming tradition … we want the community to come and check it out and keep the Bobcat spirit alive.”

Other than the traditional parade, no other major Homecoming events have been dropped in 2018. The Homecoming court voting and coronation will go as normal, as will the football game on Sept. 28 and dance on Sept. 29.

MHS Activities and Athletics Director Rollie Ackerman said the Homecoming parade will return in 2019. The Bobcats will take on Ames in the Sept. 20, 2019 Homecoming game.

Wyant said the students did well to come up with alternative activities for this year.

“They still want to get the community together, it’s just going to look different this year,” she said. “We look forward to some normalcy next year.”

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Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com