Children from Mrs. Haddock's second grade and Ms. Cookston's kindergarten classes from Sandrock Elementary School watch as the American Legion float comes by with the United States Flag during Friday's 2009 homecoming parade.

Photo by David Pressgrove

Children from Mrs. Haddock's second grade and Ms. Cookston's kindergarten classes from Sandrock Elementary School watch as the American Legion float comes by with the United States Flag during Friday's 2009 homecoming parade.

Students let out of school to watch homecoming parade

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Stacy Ponikvar's fifth-graders thought homecoming was just about blue and white.

But by the time the East Elementary School class reached Victory Way to watch the parade go by, they had received a full lesson in homecoming history.

"It's really about the alumni and people being able to come back to Craig and celebrate with us," Ponikvar said.

The students learned that the national tradition of homecoming began 100 years ago at the University of Missouri.

"They were excited about that because that was something they really didn't know," she said.

The students also made their own small signs featuring a picture of a bulldog on a blue background, giving them something to wave in anticipation of the parade.

The 2009 Moffat County High School homecoming parade took place Friday afternoon on Victory Way between City Park and Safeway.

This year, the parade featured about 30 floats from businesses, community organizations and student groups.

"The kids get really excited," Ponikvar said. "It's just all about celebrating Moffat County."

As the fire trucks geared up and started blasting their horns, the fifth-graders started shrieking and jumping up and down, pumping their arms.

But when the first float pulled out of City Park, the shrieks turned to chants of "candy, candy."

Ten-year-old Tiara Hampton said she knew homecoming was about alumni coming to visit their old schools, but to her, it was really about the sugar.

"Candy and fire trucks," she said.

To Pearl Wyman, 10, homecoming meant team spirit and a great football game.

But candy was a big part of it for her, too.

"I like the silly people in the silly hats that hand out candy," she said.

Ponikvar tried to encourage her students to pool all their candy so it could be divvied up later in class, but many still shoved pieces into their pocket as float by float rolled by.

Many student clubs and organizations put together floats for Craig's largest parade of the year.

The drama group sang and danced along with music from the fall musical, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," in colorful calypso outfits.

The soccer, football and dance teams were out in full force, as well as Future Farmers of America, holding up cardboard pieces of American produce.

The Moffat County Education Association float carried a political message, decorated with signs denouncing the rescission of Amendment 23 funds for school districts statewide.

Other floats, like the MCHS Rodeo Team's creation, were about decorations and team spirit.

The rodeo team piled on their trailer on top of hay bales, sawhorses and a mechanical bull. Students decked out in cowboy garb whooped and hollered at the viewers that lined the road.

With so much to take in, it was hard for parade participants and viewers to pinpoint exactly what homecoming meant to them.

"Homecoming is really about the dance," MCHS senior Samantha Wiseman said.

"No, it's about the football game," rodeo coach Janice Edwards said.

Wiseman's classmate Taylor Vernon, who walked alongside the rodeo float handing out candy to the screaming elementary students, said she loved every part of homecoming.

But not as much as Pearl Wyman, who scrambled on the ground after each piece of candy she saw.

"I love homecoming," Wyman said. "I love it with all my heart."

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