University of Arizona homecoming festivities return but traditional parade tossed out
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Homecoming festivities are back on the University of Arizona campus, except for the parade. The parade has been an annual tradition for almost 100 years but was called off like many other activities once COVID hit. Many of those activities have returned, but the parade has not.
Kirk Sibley said he heard the news by going through the homecoming schedule. He said this decision made by the University Alumni and Development Program is not right. He said they should have included more folks in the decision before pulling the plug.
“Ugh, where do I begin? Surprised because we didn’t even know about it. Shock, we have a lot of questions. We are not happy about this because this has been part of the community since 1926,” he said.
Sibley said this annual tradition brings students, families, alumni and community members together every year.
“And there’s just, it just gets me so excited, and I get chills just thinking about what it’s like being in the parade. You can hear the Pride of Arizona in the background playing the fight song,” he said.
Sibley knows that tradition all too well. He was the man inside the Wilbur costume for many years.
“This empty road is normally filled on Saturday with floats, fire engines, school buses, the student organizations, the band,” he said.
But that will not be the case this Saturday. The parade is a “no-go” at UArizona.
The school’s Alumni and Development Program had nobody available for an interview, but sent the below statement instead:
“The parade was traditionally made up of student-created floats and displays, but a lack of participation and students actively engaging with Homecoming in other ways contributed to a change in direction.”
“So, it kind of leans more to the real mystery of what is going on because the people who made this decision don’t want to talk about it,” Sibley.
The Alumni Association sent the following statement:
“We will continue planning Homecoming programming that engages students and alumni in Homecoming traditions and university life in a way that welcomes and unites our community in campus activities.”
But Sibley said even the video from the Alumni Association promoting this year’s homecoming does not help. It features a lot of videos from the homecoming parade.
“So, what we want long-term is we need better engagement between the university staff and alumni for anything we are planning, especially decisions regarding our traditions,” he said.
Sibley said it is too late to bring back the parade this year, but he has organized a group to bring it back starting next year. For more information, click here.
“It is still such a shock that is not going to take place,” said Sibley.
So will the parade come back next year? The Alumni Association sent this statement:
“Homecoming programming is evaluated on an ongoing basis including hosting a parade.”
- Oct. 27, 5-7 p.m.: Lighting of “A” Mountain
- Oct. 28, 7 p.m.: Homecoming Bonfire and Royalty Crowning
- Oct. 29, 4 p.m.: Homecoming Game vs. USC
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