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UT Students' Homecoming Parade Floats are Mobile Works of Art 
Scene from UT's 2016 Homecoming Parade.

The main event of the University of Tennessee’s Homecoming festivities is almost here! UT’s 101st parade steps off exactly 28 hours from now. However, the hard work of conceiving, designing, constructing and decking out extravagant student-made floats, celebrating UT’s rich heritage, began weeks ago.

It’s been 30 years since UT’s Homecoming Parade rolled along Cumberland Avenue. Students are enthusiastic about the parade’s return to The Strip. Even now, they’re scurrying to finish their tissue-covered works of mobile art.

To get started, student organizations partner up and compete in multiple events in hopes of placing as a Homecoming champion.

The parade floats require participation from every member in each organization and take about a month to assemble. The floats aren’t just crafted from boards and nails. It is mandatory that each float be covered in tissue rosettes, or “pomps.” Covering a large float requires thousands of pomps – plus dedication (and patience) from the students who make them.

With mid-terms wrapping up, students already have their plates full, but according to Student Homecoming Committee Vice President Madeline Yates, the extra work is well worth it.

“The students who are taking the time to build and decorate floats are excited to have their work showcased at a city level,” Yates said. “Putting the parade on Cumberland helps to close the gap between community and school.”

UT student and All Campus Events (ACE) PR Chair Katie Jackson is one of many anxiously awaiting the start of the parade at 4 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 3.

“I think everyone is very excited about it,” she said. “It’s going to be great for businesses on Cumberland, and there will be a lot of people there to witness Homecoming and join in on the school spirit!”

This year, anyone can vote for their favorite float through social media – Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Just use the hashtag #VolFloat with the number of the float entry. For example, to vote for float entry No. 100, use the hashtag #VolFloat100.

Vote anytime during the 4-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, parade – or from 5-6 p.m., during the post-parade celebration, when Cumberland will remain closed to vehicles and the floats will be parked on display.

Cumberland Avenue merchants will be providing prizes worth thousands of dollars to the teams that create the top floats and also to spectators selected with random drawings.

The theme for this year is “HC 101: Intro to Rocky Top.” The parade’s grand marshals include Del and Dane Bryant, sons of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, a husband-wife songwriter team who generated a string of hits – none more celebrated in Knoxville than “Rocky Top.”

- Communications intern Celeste Lord

UT's Homecoming Parade returns Friday to Cumberland Avenue.

Scene from UT's 2016 Homecoming Parade.

Posted by evreeland On 02 November, 2017 at 11:57 AM