Music-themed parade launches Homecoming week

Members of the Alpha Epsilon Phi organization march in the Homecoming parade on )ct. 16, 2017. This year's theme was music and saw floats featuring Coldplay and Drake(Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus) 

Homecoming has arrived once again at the University of Connecticut, with the annual Homecoming Parade on Sunday starting off the week. The Student Union Board of Governors selected the theme ‘Music Tours in Storrs’ for this year, bringing a variety of displays from several student organizations for the parade.

UConn’s Chief Diversity Officer Joelle A. Murchison was named the grand marshal of the parade this year, leading the line with UConn mascot Jonathan XIV, followed by the UConn Marching Band, UConn cheerleaders and the parade displays.

Each float and group celebrated a different artist, as part of the theme. Coldplay, Drake and Christina Aguilera were just a few of the displays that paraded by.

It takes about three days to decorate a float, according to Alpha Sigma Phi member Michael DiMaria, who helped work on crowd-favored Britney Spears-themed float. The display was  created by Sigma Alpha Mu, Alpha Epsilon Pi and Alpha Sigma Phi.

The float included several images from the artist’s music videos, including a student dressed as Spears holding a snake from her song ‘Toxic’ and a cage from her video of “Make Me...”, which drew cheers from the crowd as students sang along to Spears’ songs.

“We all chip in and try to build it together,” said DiMaria, a junior mechanical engineering major. “The past few days, we’ve just been building all day.”

Some organizations were creative with their floats. Professional agricultural sorority Sigma Alpha used a truck trailer and a painted backdrop to recreate The Beatles’ famous ‘Abbey Road’ album cover, with four students dressed up as John, Paul, George and Ringo to create a three-dimensional display.    

Even organizations that didn’t have a float got into the spirit. The Asian American Cultural Center staged a mock lip-sync and dance battle between a student dressed as Michael Jackson and Jonathan the Husky. The African American Cultural Center, as well, danced to a song by Nicki Minaj.

Even the infamous ‘Left Shark’ from Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show made an appearance with the UConn Marching Band’s display.

Spectators enjoyed the show, with alumni returning to UConn to watch.

“Our favorite part is always the band and Jonathan,” said Lea McCabe, a UConn alumnus who attended the parade with her family. “The floats were really well done.”

Student as well appreciated the parade, some of them experiencing it for the first time.

“It was pretty cool,” Julia Audibert, a first semester political science major, said. “The floats were pretty creative. The Britney Spears float was my favorite.”

The parade rounded on Gilbert Drive and headed towards South Campus, passing by a table of judges. The judges, according to SUBOG chairperson Ashley Lane, score each group’s display based on originality, spirit, presentation and how well the organizations are represented in the display.

The results will be announced at the Homecoming Pageant at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, Lane said.  

After the parade ended and dissipated next to the South Quad, students enjoyed a free carnival provided by SUBOG with rides, games and a free lunch.

“It’s a good way for everyone to come together,” said Jenna Marteka, a first semester pre-pharmacy major. “And there’s free food, so that’s always fun.”

Marlese Lessing is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at She tweets @marlese_lessing.