The Wisconsin Homecoming Committee hosted the 2021 Homecoming Parade on Friday. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Marching Band, student organizations and other local businesses participated in the parade to share their Wisconsin pride and kick-off the start to UW’s Homecoming weekend.
The parade tradition started in 1913, when the UW Marching Band and alumni marched down State Street to the alumni bonfire. The parade now seeks to connect alumni and students, giving them a reason to celebrate what it means to be a “Wisconsin Badger.” It was the hope of the Wisconsin Homecoming Committee to bring back a sense of unity after a challenging year.
“Coming off of a year of all-virtual, our main goal was to bring back the community and get everyone excited about homecoming,” said Wisconsin Homecoming Committee President Grace Sexton.
Student involvement in the parade has grown in comparison to prior years, in part due to the Homecoming Committee’s new association with the Union Directorate. Their standing under the directorate now provides the committee with more resources to host successful parades..
“The Union Directorate has helped us out so much. Outreach has been better, so we’ve gotten the opportunity to have more floats,” Sexton said. “We’ve been able to get more student involvement, like the Occupational Therapy Group and Wisconsin Singers.”
This year’s parade theme was “Trick or Treat with Bucky,” suitable for the long Halloween weekend. Parade participants tossed out candy as they marched down Gilman and State Street.
“There is so much creative ability [with this year’s theme]. It’s going to be so fun for community members, especially for those with little kids,” Sexton said.
The Wisconsin Homecoming Committee hosted other events during homecoming week, including a virtual art show, Halloween showcase and block party. The Badgers closed out homecoming week with a 27-7 win over Iowa at Saturday’s homecoming football game.