Students build floats for Homecoming Parade

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Ian Green | The Daily Wildcat UA sophomore Bailey Grijalva, center, positions props on the SAA float "birthday cake." The UA Alumni Assocation will be celebrating its 120th birthday this Homecoming.

October at the University of Arizona isn’t quite like October at most other universities: the temperature regularly surpasses 90 degrees, there aren’t many leaves starting to change color and sweater season is still in the distant future.  One thing that is essential to October at the UA and at colleges across the country, however, is Homecoming — one of the biggest Homecoming traditions being the Homecoming Parade.

The parade will kick off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, and feature more than 50 floats, the Pride of Arizona marching band and this year’s Homecoming royalty.  Every year an alumni class is given the honor of participating in the parade through the Wildcat Reunion March.  This year, the class of 1967 will hold the honorable position and walk the parade route alongside all the floats, marking 50 years since they attended school here at the UA.

The UA Alumni Association’s website dubs the parade “our most treasured homecoming tradition.”  

The parade features floats, and if there are floats, there are float-makers.

Daniel Hynes, a pre-psychological science sophomore, is one of the float-makers this year.  A member of the Student Alumni Ambassadors, Hynes was appointed to Homecoming float parade co-chair within his organization for this year’s festivities alongside fellow co-chair Bailey Grijalva.

Hynes and Grijalva have been preparing for the parade since last semester.  Participating in the Homecoming Parade has been a tradition for the SAA since they were first founded in 1997, this year marking 20 years for the organization.

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The float will be themed around the UAAA’s 120-year anniversary, of which the SAA is a part. The main section of the float will feature a huge birthday cake surrounded by presents, balloons, streamers and the like, all in classic Wildcat colors.  Behind the cake will feature a backdrop wishing the Alumni Association a happy anniversary.

After deciding on this year’s theme and planning out the production schedule and building process last semester, Hynes and Grijalva began structure and woodwork in September.  Within the six weeks they were given to put the float together, the two received help from the SAA Taskforce and general members.

In these past couple weeks, the team has moved onto the decorating phase, and with the parade coming up in just a few days, the finishing touches are all that’s left before the float is ready to join the many others parading down the UA Mall.

“I think the coolest part [of the process] from a leader’s standpoint is all the people that come out and help you,” Hynes said.  “We’ve got a very diverse group of people coming in every week and we’re getting these people to communicate, we’re getting these people to connect on a level outside of a professional environment or a school environment.”

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While float construction is a unique activity, the collaboration aspect that is essential to the process is directly related to the SAA mission.

“Our mission is basically to enhance student growth, leadership and development through networking with alumni at the university and celebrating the tradition of the University of Arizona,” Hynes said. 

The SAA float and many of the organization’s members can be seen among the Homecoming Parade this Saturday.



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