Homecoming Parade reaches a new peak

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Managing Editor

Oct. 23, 2000 10 PM

This year, the city of Troy and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce are hoping that Troy State University’s Homecoming Parade will be bigger and better than ever.

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Featuring an expected 125 units in the parade, projections are that this year’s event will top last year’s which reached an all-time high of about 110 units.

It will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. at the intersections of Madison and Brundidge Streets and will move through downtown Troy before concluding in front of the Public Safety Building at the intersections of Elm and Bundidge streets.

"Our philosophy this year is that we didn’t want to turn anyone away," said Dan Smith, a parade organizer and director of the city of Troy’s Department of Parks and Recreation. "We have had a lot of support and a lot of people have worked hard to bring this together."

Two of those people are Jim Chance and George O’Neal who are serving as co-chairmen of the parade’s organizational efforts.

This year marks the 46th that O’Neal has helped head up the effort.

"He has done an amazing job," said Jenniffer Barner with the Pike County Chamber of Commerce. "Both Mr. O’Neal and Jim Chance have put a lot of work into making the parade organization flow smoothly."

Making it come together wouldn’t be possible without one of the most important things in a parade – trucks to pull the floats and drivers to tow them.

That’s where the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association comes in, Barner said.

"They have decided to help us with trucks, tractors and drivers, and that’s something that we couldn’t do without in order to make the parade a success," she said.

Smith said he also appreciates the Cattlemen.

"This is an enormous contribution," he said. "We can’t overstate how much we appreciate their volunteer efforts to make the parade a success."

Other important contributions are being made by Fort Rucker, which has made Troy its sponsored city.

Smith said a group from Fort Rucker’s U.S. Army attachment will provide organizational support.

"They have volunteered to send 15-25 people to help out," Barner said.

Barner said the soldiers will assist in organizational support will focus on crowd safety to make sure the parade is safe and enjoyable for all those who attend.

"This is something there can’t be too much of," she said. "We appreciate their interest and participation."

Another key to success is the Troy Police Department. Officers will manage traffic flow before, during and after the parade to make sure that the crowds don’t cause problems on city streets and with parking.

"They have this down to a science," Smith said. "They know what to do, where to be and how to manage things to make the parade safe."

According to Smith, the parade lineup will begin near Walt’s Gym at the intersection of Three Notch Street and Madison around 9 a.m. The first units are expected to depart heading toward the downtown square a few minutes before 9 a.m. and the parade will continue through the square and will depart on Elm Street heading toward the bridge over the railroad tracks.

The parade will conclude at the intersection of Brundidge Street.

"We hope to see everyone enjoying themselves," Smith said.

Barner said with more floats and units participating, parade enthusiasts won’t want to miss out this year.

"This year will mark our biggest Homecoming Parade to date," she said. "I hope everyone will come out and show their support for their community and for Troy State University."