Parade bans Chief symbol from floats

 

 

By Marie Wilson

This year’s Homecoming parade will kick off at 6 p.m. Friday and will follow the same route as in previous years. However, groups making floats for the parade have a new rule to follow: displaying the Chief Illiniwek symbol in any form will not be allowed, said Jillian Kachel, senior in AHS and parade co-chair.

Kachel said groups cannot use the Chief symbol on their floats, signs, costumes, or T-shirts. She still expects the best of the parade’s 35 floats to employ some creative design ideas.

“The really good ones are huge paper maches,” Kachel said. “Or they have some kind of moving feature, typically with the other team’s mascot.”

Kachel said each float will be judged, and the top three choices will receive trophies.

Drew Whalen, junior in ACES and a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, said his organization has won the float competition the last few years and will try to continue the tradition.

“Tri Delts and Gamma Phis (two campus sororities) are helping us decorate, so we’ll have all of our names on it,” Whalen said. “And we’ll have a lot of orange and blue for homecoming, and I don’t want to give it away, but there will be a football player.”

Groups other than Greek organizations will also build floats or walk in groups in the parade.

The event organizers are trying to increase student and community involvement in this year’s parade, said Chris Massie, senior in ACES and parade co-chair.

“We’re trying to get more people in it because sometimes the same frats and sororities do it every year because they’re used to it,” Massie said.

Parade planners invited local school groups and businesses to participate in this year’s parade as well.

Cardinal Fitness, 2414 Galen Drive, will join the Homecoming festivities for the first time, said owner Brad Feinsmith. Feinsmith said this is the company’s first year in the parade because he previously thought only University groups could participate.

“I’m a U of I graduate, and I love getting involved with the school,” Feinsmith said. “Being a part of the community is something we pride ourselves on and the University is a large part of the community here.”

Floats and walking groups will alternate with 24 Chevrolet Corvettes between them, holding University officials including Chancellor Richard Herman and Parade Grand Marshal and University professor Ollie Watts Davis.

Kachel said the parade should last less than an hour, giving people time to attend the University Pep Rally on the Quad at 7 p.m.