I have fond memories of homecoming festivities in my hometown in Missouri. Nothing draws a small town together quite like a Friday night football game against a neighboring high school. The parade, queens and a great football game make for great memories. Our youngest daughter got to experience this for the first time with her classmates in Elkins, Ark., recently.
Leadership is innate for our ninth-grade daughter. When she started high school this year, she got involved with a student council election. She and some of her friends are officers for their class. The first item of business was to plan and execute a class homecoming float.
My husband is the master of tools and shop work, so it was decided to host the construction of the float in our shed for the few weeks leading up to the parade.
We hosted several work nights at the farm. I was impressed with the number of students and parents who turned out to help.
It was fun watching the kids turn their sketch into a float they could all be proud of. The kids were in charge and several dads helped them with the power tools. They worked furiously to stuff tissue paper into chicken wire and attach glitter and bling where it was appropriate.
Some of the moms and I made trips to get pizza and to craft stores to get all the supplies they would need. All the parade floats were to follow a theme for movies. They had chosen the theme, “Go Elks, Beat the (Gravette) Lions! No Smurfin’ Around.” This theme was no easy task. They laid outdoor carpet at the base, created a giant Smurf house/mushroom and decorated the float into a lovely Smurf village/football field.
The day of the parade, I followed my husband into town as he drove slowly and carefully. We backed up traffic several times and had to pull into the turning lane to let people around. At last, we made it to the high school. We parked the float and let the students get to work on the final touches. They were determined to make it the best float. Then we left it for the official judging.
We came back that afternoon for a school pep rally. We enjoyed seeing the cheerleaders get everyone fired up for that night’s big game. The candidates for homecoming and their escorts looked fabulous. School spirit was in the air. At the pep rally, the winners of the float competition were announced. They Class of 2026 – also known as the freshmen class took first place. They were energized.
We hurried out to the float so the kids could get their blue Smurf paint on their arms, legs and faces to ride in the parade. This was messy and hilarious; we all had a great time.
Our daughter is a cheerleader and she got to ride in the parade on one of the fire trucks. It was a fun day followed by a great football game that night. The Elkins Elks football team prevailed over the Gravette Lions.
School spirit and homecoming magic are alive and well, neighbor.
Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’