Before Saturday’s football game, Wildcats of all ages cheered on dazzling floats and excited fans marched through the streets of Manhattan for the 2019 Homecoming Parade. The annual event is a highlight of Homecoming Week.
The parade featured Disney movie themed floats, Kansas State President Richard Myers driving a golf cart, the K-State Pep Band and revving go karts.
The parade started at Manhattan Town Center and took Poyntz Avenue to the edge of City Park. It then turned on to Moro Street through Aggieville, and ended in the heart of City Park.
Jordy Nelson, former K-State and Green Bay Packers wide receiver, was the grand marshal of the parade. Nelson told the crowd he’s excited to be back in Manhattan with his family.
This is the first time in a long time, Nelson said, he gets to just be a fan.
“I haven’t been a fan for quite awhile,” Nelson said. “Grew up going to these games, tailgating before. Some of the best time I had was out in that parking lot throwing a football around. It’s good to be back and doing that.”
He noted the importance of the student section, band, cheerleaders and Classy Cats.
“One thing I would like to stress — if there’s a lull in the game, you guys are what can bring it back,” he said. “You might not think it, but it’s true, momentum’s a big thing in the game of football.”
At the Pep Rally, head football Coach Chris Klieman also addressed the crowd.
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“Our guys are busting their tail and getting better and better every week and every day,” Klieman said. “We challenge each other to be great on a daily basis.”
He said he is excited to see what happens at the game on Saturday in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
“We got a really good football team coming into town in Oklahoma,” he said. “We also have some really good results in the past history against Oklahoma, especially when they come to Manhattan.”
Haley Miller, sophomore in psychology, helped design an “Aladdin”-themed float with her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, along with two fraternities.
“We did a lot of pomping hours,” Miller said. “Pomping is stuffing a bunch of square tissue papers into wire fence.”
Miller said the parade was fun participate in.
“We did lots of cheers, so it really boosted my school spirit,” Miller said.
During the rally, awards were presented for the competitions that took place throughout Homecoming Week. Matthew Waynick, junior in business administration, is a member of Beta Upsilon Chi, one of three houses whose “Frozen”-themed float won best float.
“[The parade] was great, a lot of hype,” he said. “A lot of people were really excited and we got a lot of chants going.”