Brittany Balandis

L-R: Adam Flango, Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi, Brittany Balandis

Photo courtesy of: Brittany Balandis

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Homecoming Parade 2011: The emcee's perspective

Student describes her Homecoming day experience

This year's "Beyond the Bricks" Homecoming Parade included more than 80 organizations, eight judges and two emcees. As one of the emcees, I had the privilege of having an inside look at this year's parade, from pre-production planning, to committee meetings, to the parade itself.

My co-host, Adam Flango, a senior journalism major from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, accompanied me. We spent four weeks together preparing, planning and practicing, but only had one shot to get it right.

With so much hype, the morning of the parade was full of anticipation, excitement and, of course, Bobcat pride. From 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., the sidewalks of Court Street were filled with cheering, singing, dancing and laughing Bobcats of all ages. 

Adam and I strived to soak up every minute of this unforgettable experience from the moment our alarm clocks went off until the very last float had passed Baker Center.

6:15 a.m. Beep, beep, beep! Rolling listlessly over to my nightstand, I exhaustedly wacked my alarm clock and let out a loud groan. Swinging my legs over the side of my bed, I made a beeline for the coffee maker. With four hours until the parade kickoff, I needed as much caffeine as I could get my hands on!

7 a.m. Make-up applied, hair straightened, breakfast made and script printed, I was ready to roll. After some last-minute script revision, I jumped in the car and headed to meet Adam on Court Street.

8:30 a.m. With an hour and half left until the parade begins, the intersection of Court Street and Park Place was buzzing. The Homecoming Event Staff rushed to set up tents for the VIP guests, chairs for the judges and microphones for Adam and me. 

Kylie Brooks, one of the Homecoming Parade coordinators, set Adam and me up at the judges' table. This year's judges included Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi, Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit, University College administrator Wendy Merb-Brown, Professor Scott Moody, Professor Connie Esmond Kiger, Professor John Kiger, and student Melissa Arnold.

9:30 a.m. Only 30 minutes left and the adrenaline had started to kick in. Last-minute changes to the parade script only added to my already shaky nerves. The atmosphere had started to pick up; the parade route was filled with students, parents and alumni, all donning green and white Ohio University apparel. With so many spirited Bobcat fans, Adam and I were getting more and more anxious to begin!

9:50 a.m. "Testing, testing, one, two, three!" Our mics are on and ready to go.

10:20 a.m. After a brief rehearsal of our introduction, Adam and I wished each other good luck, took a deep breathe, and began. "Good morning, Bobcats! Welcome to the 2011 Homecoming Parade!"

The hour-long parade seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. With such a wide variety of parade entries, onlookers were captivated by the unique floats and banners. Parade participants ranged from the Ohio University Sales Centre, to the Athens County Fair, to Jefferson Dining Hall, to the Athens News.

The parade also included the 2011 Homecoming Queen Faye Miller and Homecoming King Harrison Hill. The 2011 Homecoming Court included Shawn Mestelske, Jacqueline Mayer, Kyle Triplett, Sabrina Wendling, Cameron Scheetz, Kendall Kidder-Goshorn, John Frederick and Hannah Croft.

The 2011 "Beyond the Bricks" Homecoming Parade was a true testament to the bond that all Bobcats share. For more information and pictures from this year's Homecoming Weekend at Ohio University, click here.