Parade route changed

Jon Stinchcomb and Jon Stinchcomb

The University’s homecoming parade has long been a tradition allowing current students to showcase their organizations to returning alumni, but this year’s events are expanding to embrace an even broader community.

As a result, the most prominent change is to the parade route. The route will now begin at the corner of South Grove and Wooster Streets on the west end. It will head east, marching through downtown, through campus and ending on Mercer.

“This route came to fruition after collaboration with city leaders and members of the Homecoming Student Steering Committee,” said Christopher Bullins, the University’s associate dean of students.

Bullins said the city of Bowling Green and the University share a “tremendously strong partnership.” Through this, members of both communities expressed interest in extendending the parade route and including a new downtown component, he said.

Bowling Green Municipal Administrator John Fawcett said the new route reflects the desire of both the city’s and University’s administrations for all homecoming events to be more inclusive of the entire community.

“We thought it was important to make the downtown a part of the parade route, hoping it will serve as an invitation to residents to partake in homecoming activities, capped off by their attending Saturday’s football game,” Fawcett said.

Bullins said they’re also encouraging the community to participate in events prior to the parade such as the pep rally at 12:45 p.m. in Falcon Tailgate Park. The rally will be emceed by basketball head coaches Jennifer Roos and Chris Jans.

In addition, the Homecoming Student Steering Committee even invited Mayor Richard Edwards to ride in the parade. The mayor happily accepted, Fawcett said.

“We are hoping with the new extension of the route, and the inclusion of the community, that all will feel welcome to attend our kickoff event, Falconpalooza, which takes place on University Lawn immediately following the parade,” said Julia Hage, president of the steering committee.

This year the parade will feature campus organizations, community groups, University and city VIPs and more, with more than 105 units for all of Bowling Green, alumni, and current students to enjoy, Hage said.

Among those is the Falcon Marching Band, although its entrance will be a little different this year.

Carol Hayward, director of the Falcon Marching and Athletic Bands, said they are aware of how important it is for the band to be part of the parade, but they did have to make some compromises due to the change in route and start time.

“We are doing our best to accommodate the route and time change with a compromise for us which involves joining the parade as it arrives on campus,” Hayward said.

With the event beginning downtown at 4:30 p.m., Hayward said it was difficult with the band’s rehearsal schedule. However, they decided to end rehearsal early, she said, and will join the parade once it reaches campus then continue the march eastward on Wooster.

Overall, the new route was about expanding to include both more of campus and the surrounding community, Hage said.

“I think this route change demonstrates the continued partnership and excellent relationship between BGSU and the city,” Bullins said.