At long last the wait is over.
Perry has not had a Homecoming parade since 2007, but all of that will change at 6 p.m. today when the event, now sponsored by the Perry Chamber of Commerce, returns to the streets of the city for what many hope will be an annual tradition once again.
Well over 500 PHS students are spending the day in a variety of volunteer activities throughout Perry as part of Spirit Week and the celebration of Homecoming. A great many will be part of the parade, which will begin lining up at the high school between 5-5:30 p.m. The route will take the parade west down Willis Avenue then north on Second Street, ending at the city parking lot at the corner of Second and Pattee Street.
Mike and Shari Garber have been chosen as parade marshalls and will headline the event, which will include king and queen candidates riding in convertibles. No candy will be thrown during the parade, but for good reason — treats will be handed out ahead of the procession.
The Edge Youth Group from the Christian Church in Perry has put together 1,600 bags of candy and will be walking in front of the parade along either side of the route and distributing the goodies. The lyrics of the Perry High School fight song will be printed on each bag, and parade watchers are encouraged to sing along with the full PHS Blue Brigade marching band, who will be making their first-ever parade appearance under director Brandon Weeks.
Each of the four classes at PHS has created a float that will travel the parade route. The floats were sponsored by different members of the Chamber of Commerce, which helped defray cost, allowed for construction location and provided assistance as needed in building the floats. St. Patrick’s Catholic School will have a float entry and others may as well.
Numerous businesses will be represented in the parade, with the “Let’s Connect” bike trail group part of the fun, along with a series of other special guests, some of whom will join the parade once it reaches Eighth Street.
Second Street will be closed to traffic between Willis Avenue and Pattee Street for a few hours, as the high school class floats will be parked along the downtown stretch after the parade for the public to inspect up close.
Raccoon Valley Bank is helping the junior class with a “Perry Pride Grill-Out” in front of their Second and Warford location. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be on the grill, with bank employees and members of the junior class cooking up the vittles.
All will be available for a free-will offering, with proceeds donated to the junior class prom committee.
The Perry varsity football team will also be at Raccoon Valley Bank to sign team posters for their fans.
“Hawaiian Luau” was chosen as the theme for Homecoming this year. Students dressed in island attire for “Tropical Tuesday” yesterday and will go back in time for a “Throwback Thursday.” Today is the annual Volunteer Day, in which students and faculty chaperones will fan out across the community to perform a number of worthy projects.
The annual Homecoming King and Queen coronation and pep rally will be held Thursday in the PHS gym at 8 p.m., with a bonfire to be held at the Perry Athletic Complex immediately following.
Friday will see students wear their class colors (frosh-red, soph-white, junior-black, senior-blue) and attend Game Day activities at Dewey Field at 1 p.m. The Homecoming Dance will immediately follow the football game.