COLUMBIA — The echo of the snare drums, the glistening gold of the uniforms, the sea of purple and green lining the streets.
In celebration of their homecoming weeks, Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools ended the week with a colorful, festive parade down Broadway on Friday.
It wasn’t only the students beaming and cheering. Younger children also couldn’t get enough of the spectacle.
The streets were strewn with candy, but only for seconds before being picked up by clusters of eager boys and girls. It was early Halloween on high speed.
For a couple hours beginning in the early afternoon, Broadway was completely blocked off for the parade, which began at College Avenue and ended at Providence Road. Friends, family and patrons lined Broadway in lawn chairs, filling empty parking spaces and equipped with cameras and bag lunches.
Scott Sells, a Rock Bridge alumnus who played football and basketball in high school, said he loves the tradition this week brings.
“When I was younger, I had older siblings that came back for the parade, and they brought their friends," Sells said. "It was a good excuse to get everyone together."
Now 10 years out of high school, Sells has carried on the tradition with his 5-year-old daughter, hot dogs and sodas included.
The Hickman High color guard led the parade, followed by the school's marching band, homecoming queen candidates, cheerleaders, Minority Achievement Committee scholars and dance team.
Parents snapped pictures and cheered when they saw their children. Yet for one mother and substitute teacher at Hickman, the parade was even more special.
Melissa Spain, a secondary math substitute teacher and mother of Hickman student Amanda Nusbaum, watched her daughter march with her clarinet for the last time today.
“It’s her senior year. This is the last time I will see her march in the parade," Spain said. "It’s become a great tradition for my family, so even though there’s time until my son goes to high school, I know we will be back next year."
The green and gold of Rock Bridge followed Hickman in a similar order, with the addition of the Young Republicans and the Rock Bridge Hall of Fame, an alumni organization.
As the parade continued, students screeched at their friends, chattered about their homecoming dresses and debated what time to arrive at the football game Friday night.
The Rock Bridge football team will play Rockhurst High School at 7 p.m. Friday, and Hickman will face Helias High School, also at 7.
Both schools will hold their dances at 8 p.m. Saturday night.