Florida A&M’s Homecoming Parade returned to its traditional route this year without the Marching “100.”
Last year, the parade began on Monroe Street due to construction and costs. Frenchtown residents hoped the change was temporary. Tallahassee resident Cyntheria Jackson said the parade is a family tradition.
“We order family shirts, watch the parade from my mom’s house and have a big breakfast after,” Jackson said.
The parade is also big tradition in the Frenchtown community. Jackson said she is “happy that the parade made its way back home.”
The Tallahassee Police Department ushered the parade south on Macomb Street.
Although the number of supporters and participants were not as large as they have been in the past, FAMU students in the School of Architecture stole the show, carrying enormous, handmade Rattler on their shoulders.
The FAMU Caribbean Student Association was another crowd favorite. Students brought their carnival traditions to Tallahassee by dressing in festive, cultural costumes and performing dance routines.
The theme of homecoming was “Ignite the Strike: Celebrating a Legacy of Excellence with Caring.” Director of Student Activities Marvin Greene said the university contacted parade participants from previous years to come again due to lower attendance.
“We held phone banks letting them know that the parade will be taking place,” Greene said.
People lined the streets around 7:30 a.m. with their lawn chairs. Some wore hoodies and others bundled up under blankets. FAMU alumnus Wade McAllister said the parade was essential to the Rattler spirit.
“There are a lot of people who didn’t come because of the band, “McAllister said. “But we have to keep the Rattler pride alive. Changes occur in life, but they shouldn’t stop the show.”
FAMU DRS, James A. Shanks Middle School and West Gadsden High School were featured bands in the event. Many were surprised that Rickards High School did not participate. Shawnee Moore, a senior psychology student from Washington D.C., was shocked that she did not see them.
“Rickards is the baby Marching “100,” and I looked forward to seeing them to fill the void of not having our band,” Moore said.
Band supporters wore Marching “100” paraphernalia and lined the streets to support the university.
However, Moore said, “You can tell it’s not the same.”