It’s a party on Pioneer as Oak Harbor High School students bring the homecoming spirit downtown. The excitement starts with the second annual Homecoming Parade at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, with a community pep rally immediately afterward. The parade will begin at the intersection of Pioneer Way and City Beach Street.
Among the 35 Oak Harbor school groups represented will be Olympic Games Bronze medalist Marti Malloy, visiting from San Jose, Calif.
Oak Harbor High School students will come out en masse to share their school spirit with the community. Represented will be the Key Club, Travel Club, French Club, Robotics Club and many other clubs, cheerleaders, color guard, band and, of course, the football team and royalty.
Also livening up Pioneer Way will be the Broad View Elementary School flag and safety teams, Oak Harbor Middle School ASB, Oak Harbor Elementary School Safety Patrol, Hillcrest Elementary School Kids and more.
“It should be a good time,” said Oak Harbor High School Principal Dwight Lundstrom.
The parade will be bigger than last year, Lundstrom said.
“Everybody was like, ‘It’s over?’ So we wanted to make it a more hometown homecoming feel,” Lundstrom said, adding that the 10 additional clubs participating in the parade and the new pep rally will liven up the event.
After the parade lights up Pioneer Way, a community pep rally will raise spirits even higher. The high school band and choir will perform the school fight song and the football coach and Malloy will speak.
“I think that’s pretty awesome for an Oak Harbor kid to go out and do such a big thing. I hope the students get a look at Marti and realize if they put the work in, anything is possible,” Lundstrom said.
Malloy also plans to attend the Homecoming football game Friday night.
“Again, we have a football team that’s playoff-bound,” Lundstrom said, expressing his and the community’s pride in the team and the high school’s other flourishing sports teams.
The Homecoming Parade originated as a way to build tradition at the newly built high school. Before the new stadium was built, students paraded in what was known as the Snake Dance and headed to the stadium on Midway Boulevard. Without a place to perform the Snake Dance in the new stadium, students were at a loss for a few years. They asked staff for a new tradition.
“So it’s worked out pretty well to give them a sense of tradition with an annual event,” Lundstrom said.
Working up to the excitement of the game, students have been dressing up each day this week. Monday was “-er” day, meaning students dressed up in something that ends in “-er,” such as teacher, soldier or plumber. Tuesday was twin day and students picked a friend or two to dress alike. Wednesday is kindergarten day so students dress like kindergarteners.
Tomorrow is Throwback Thursday, allowing students to dress like a past decade. Friday is super-spirit day, where students turn out in purple and gold.
Also on Friday, students will celebrate the class of 1987 during a pep assembly. Class royalty will host a get together and tour of the school for the alumni afterward.
“And they always say, ‘Why didn’t we have this when we were here?’” Lundstrom laughed.
The grand finale of Homecoming week will be the Homecoming Dance at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, with the theme “Something New, Something Old — Everything Purple and Gold.”