COLUMBIA — MU Homecoming started off with a bang Saturday morning as the annual parade took off down Ninth Street.
Marching bands from around mid-Missouri, Missouri sports teams, local businesses and MU fraternities and sororities were just some of the many marchers celebrating the 102nd MU Homecoming. The parade started at 9 a.m. and drew crowds from Columbia and beyond.
Parade highlights included Marching Mizzou, which started things off with 'Every True Son' and the MU fight song, 'Fight Tiger,' and the floats decorated by sororities and fraternities as part of their annual Homecoming competition.
Each float was decorated to represent a different American city, from the extraterrestrial-themed Roswell, N.M., float to papier-mache Truman the Tiger riding on a horse on the race track in the Louisville, Ky.-themed float.
Parade as tradition
For lifetime Columbia residents and MU graduates Jessica and Michael Crews, the parade is a long-standing tradition. The siblings said they have been going to the parade for as long as they can remember.
"It's been ingrained in our blood to go here," Jessica Crews said. She graduated in 2008 with a degree in communication. Her brother, Michael Crews, said he wouldn't miss the Homecoming celebrations for the world. He graduated from MU in 2003.
Attending MU was a given for both siblings, whose father, Doug Crews, graduated from MU in 1973 and was president of the Mizzou Alumni Association in 2004.
Both siblings said coming to MU gave them a different perspective on the city they grew up in.
"When you live on campus, it's like a city within a city," Jessica Crews said.
Michael Crews said attending MU gave him a new sense of pride in Columbia. "We know the town but we're still enjoying it with all the other students," he said. "I'm proud to be from Columbia and proud to have gone to Mizzou."
After spending eight years as a student at MU, Lisa Brennaman graduated from the School of Medicine in 2004 and moved to St. Joseph. But Brennaman, an OB-GYN at University Hospital, said she and her family moved back to Columbia in 2012 because she loves the city.
"We just really enjoy it," she said. "There's a sense of community."
Brennaman said her children, Jack, 7, and Lucy, 3, are big Tiger fans and enjoy the festivities of the parade.
For Brennaman, Homecoming is a time to celebrate her years at MU.
"I have lifelong relationships and friendships from my time at Mizzou," she said.
Becoming a part of the community
Although she graduated from Lincoln University in 2004, Columbia resident Dana Vaughn said MU Homecoming is a fun tradition for her.
Vaughn has three children who all love the parade. Her favorite part is the floats.
"I like seeing how creative they are (each year)," she said.
Although Vaughn isn't an MU graduate, she said she still feels welcome during Homecoming weekend. She said Homecoming is like "a big pep rally where everyone is interacting and the community comes out and supports all of the teams."
Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.