Homecoming rallies a big Chieftain weekend
Everyone loves a parade, they say, and that appeared to be true in Tonganoxie last Friday afternoon when the town gathered for the annual Tonganoxie High School homecoming pre-game parade.
Norman Rockwell himself could have created the scene downtown, with the streets and sidewalks flooded with a sea of red, worn by everyone from the youngest parade watchers in strollers to the athletic teams in their jerseys.
Parents were decked out in red to support their teams, and businesses up and down the Fourth Street parade route boasted windows decorated with signs and slogans.
Red and white balloons floated off into a brilliant blue sky under a hot sun as representatives of each of the teams took turns at the microphone to ask for support and team spirit.
Noah Sneed and Dwight Clarkson represented the Tonganoxie soccer team, and Bryce Downey, Jordan Smith and Jill Stauch spoke up for the high school's cross country teams.
Sara Poje and Sara Overbaugh talked about the volleyball team.
Chris Calovich of the Tonganoxie High School football team got a loud cheer when he stepped up to thank the community and the school district for improvements at Beatty Field, and asked everyone to "come out, get loud and help us win."
Another football player, Jared Walters, got a laugh from the crowd when he paraphrased a speech from the movie "Varsity Blue," to describe a dream he had about winning the game.
A float carrying a caged lion was among the most popular of the many floats. The Lansing High School mascot was the subject of much abuse as the representative of the traditional homecoming game opponent. And the high school band kept the music pouring in, with support from the junior high's band and the grade school's "Cool Kids Choir."
The candidates for homecoming king and queen were introduced and took the stage on Fourth Street, and people everywhere talked, clapped, cheered and enjoyed the afternoon outdoors.
Preliminary candidates for king and queen, who presided over the main stage, were Charly Weide, Marcy Dodge, Lesslie Starcher, Wendy Altman, Sara Poje, Ashley Baggett and Sarah Gripka, and Adam Bundy, Neil Rieger, Doug Schneider, Brett Becker, Chris Calovich, Andy Snapp and Jared Walters.
Finalists, introduced at the rally were Calovich, Becker, Snapp, Starcher, Baggett and Altman.
During pregame ceremonies at Beatty Field, the candidates were escorted onto the field by their parents.
Baggett was crowned homecoming queen by the 1998 queen, Jill Ferguson, and Becker was crowned king by the 1998 king, John DePetre.