The spirit of MU’s Homecoming festivities spread to downtown Columbia on Sunday.
Eighteen student organizations participated in Decorate the District, a contest to decorate the storefronts of businesses near the parade route that will weave through downtown Columbia on Saturday.
To incorporate downtown into Homecoming, the Homecoming Steering Committee’s spirit committee came up with the idea of having a competition between MU student organizations, said Erika Breedlove, a member of the spirit committee.
“We wanted to involve the community of Columbia more and give them a chance to show their spirit as well,” Breedlove said.
Each group was given a bag with 30 balloons, 25 pom-poms and a roll of black-and-gold streamers. The groups were given $100 spending limits for additional decorations and four hours to complete their display. The displays were judged Sunday evening, and the one with the most Tiger pride will receive a plaque at the Homecoming ceremony next weekend.
With 25 businesses willing to participate and only 18 student organizations, the businesses were randomly selected and paired with organizations.
Hamid Dianaty, owner of Das Kaffeehaus, said he wanted to participate because he wanted to show his support for the Tigers and to the students.
“Most of my customers are students,” Dianaty said. “They help us and we help them.”
For the Columbia Art League, the competition offered a chance to support the university and student creativity, said Jill Stedem, executive director of the Columbia Art League.
Kara Krisanic, of Kappa Alpha Theta, said she is pretty confident that her group of two fraternities and one sorority has a good chance of winning. They created a snow dome effect in the Columbia Art League’s store window.
With invisible fishing wire, members of Krisanic’s group attached black and gold balloons to fans. The balloons floated in front of a black-and-gold-striped background in the store window. A black-and-gold balloon arch greets customers as they enter the Columbia Art League and written below it in white glass chalk, are the words “Experience the Legacy.”
“Although this is about Homecoming, it’s not just about the competition,” Krisanic said. “It’s really about involving the community.”