The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Homecoming parade shows various pride

Butch McCartney

The Homecoming parade had all the elements common to the event.

Thousands of students, alumni and residents crowded along Water Street Saturday.

UW-Eau Claire’s marching band followed the university police vehicle to lead the way.

Most of the floats and non-musical marching units reflected this year’s theme: “Hey Pioneers… What do you want on your tombstone?”

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But with the war in Afghanistan, the traditional abundance of blue and gold was somewhat subdued by red, white and blue.

UW-Eau Claire’s Veteran’s Club brought a military vehicle through the parade. The unit’s sign read “Hey bin Laden… What do you want on your tombstone?”

The parade featured 42 units – 35 of which represented UW-Eau Claire groups.

Sophomore Chris Straw helped Bridgman Hall win first place for its kazoo band marching unit.

“We practiced for many sweating, painstaking hours on our tantalizing moves,” Straw said. “It’s perhaps the most epic of all kazoo band traditions.”

Governors Hall placed second with its marching unit and Sutherland Hall took third.

Float winners include Designer’s Ink in first place, Sigma Sigma Sigma and Delta Sigma Phi took second and Women’s Concert Chorale received third place.

Senior Zach Wedel watched the parade from Kerm’s parking lot.

“The floats were more creative this year than in past years,” he said.

Sophomores and Singing Statesmen members Brian Deuster and Craig Gumz said the Statesmen began working on their float 12 days before the parade and building the float took about 12 hours.

The finished product became a large nail in a coffin labeled “Platteville.”

The back featured the Grim Reaper and a caricature of Statesmen director Gary Schwartzhoff painted by Homecoming King, senior and Singing Statesmen member Tim Sperduto.

The Statesmen crowded onto their float to sing school songs, including the “Alma Mater” and the “Fight Song.”

Rather than throwing candy, the Student Senate’s float tossed bottled water to the crowd lining Water Street. The message on the back said “Drink Responsibly.”

Another group threw water at the crowds, but it wasn’t drinking water.

The Entrepreneurship program and Organization of New Entrepreneurs acquired the use of a fire engine for the parade.

The entrepreneurs threw candy and water balloons, and they sprayed water out of a hose on the truck.

“It was a big party on top of the fire engine,” senior David Hofer said.

The hose wasn’t a hit with the parade judges, but some students jumped into the street to get sprayed, Hofer said.

“We think we may have been disqualified from future parades after we sprayed some citizens and policemen,” Hofer said. “When we passed Chancellor (Don) Mash, we had run out of water.”

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Homecoming parade shows various pride