Homecoming parade gathers large turnout despite the rain


Photo by Anna Mills

Eastern President Mary Cullinan shows her school spirit depute the rain as a part of the Homecoming Parade in downtown Cheney Nov. 1.

By Rebekah Frank, Staff Writer

Members of the EWU and Cheney community showed their support as they stood outside in the rain, cheering for their friends and family in the homecoming parade.

On Nov. 1 sororities, fraternities, EWU clubs, Cheney businesses and EWU organizations walked from the EWU surplus parking lot to the campus mall in the homecoming parade. The tennis club had people playing tennis while walking, the women’s fast pitch wore their uniforms and handed out candy and everyone in the parade waved or yelled out their school pride.

Tennis co-captain, Robert Dula, said in an email he likes the opportunities that the parade provides for clubs and organizations.

“It definitely helps clubs and organizations because they can use this parade to promote themselves to attract more people to their respective club or organization. My favorite part of parade was being around people and [making] some new friendships,” said Dula.

According to JFK Memorial Library University archivist Charles Mutschler, Eastern’s homecoming events were very low-key and sometimes non-existent until the beginning of the 1900s.

“Homecoming really starts to become an event in the 1920s, not that we were really a big school at that point. We are really talking about a very small amount of people that would come back. With the shift to being a four year school, you start to see more interest in supporting some of these [homecoming] activities,” said Mutschler.

The homecoming parade started as early as the 1930s, said Mutschler.

“At that time, it was a very low-key sort of thing. It seems as if we had the marching band, representatives from all three of the residence halls, … and I think there may have been a handful of people who were graduates from some years earlier,” said Mutschler.

This year’s parade featured many more people from the Eastern and Cheney communities. Amy Johnson, associate vice president for student life, said in an email the parade was altered the last few years to better accommodate families.

“To allow more local families and community members to participate, we have changed the timing of the parade in the last two years to a daytime event — and followed it with our Harvest Festival, in which we host a series of fun and family-friendly activities in the campus mall to encourage current students, parents and family members, community members and alumni to come together and celebrate our Eagle spirit,” said Johnson.

Men’s tennis head coach, Steve Clark, said in an email that his favorite part about being a part of Eastern is the unity. He said what makes a team good is celebrating together, and he appreciates that the EWU and Cheney community celebrate each other’s successes.

One family that endured the rain and cold to support Eastern was Barb Sharp and her daughter Meghan Sharp.

“I thought it was awesome; I like that they pass around candy,” said Meghan Sharp.

Barb Sharp said she thought the parade was cute and it exceeded her expectations; however, she wished more EWU clubs and organization were involved.

“I didn’t see very many businesses in here. It would’ve been nice to see more of the activities, [because] I know [Eastern is] trying to promote it. It would’ve been nice if more of the student activities would’ve been more involved in it to show their spirit,” said Barb Sharp.

Johnson said this event is not just for the Eastern Homecoming week.

“The homecoming parade during Eagle Spirit Week is one of our hallmark events and a great opportunity for EWU and the Cheney community to come together,” said Johnson.

Tennis captain, Eduardo Martinez, said in an email that he appreciated that the Cheney community came to the parade to support them even though it was raining.

“I think the parade brings in the feeling of belonging to the community, not only for Cheney itself but [also] for EWU,” said Martinez. “It gives a feeling of something bigger than just a parade or homecoming. It involves the whole Cheney and EWU community, more like a huge family rather than a school and a city.”