David Naranjo | Special to the Index
As the new school year welcomes students and teachers back to the classrooms of Mineral Wells ISD, this year’s homecoming will welcome new traditions.
On Thursday, Sept. 19, beginning at 5:30 p.m., decorated vehicles and floats will line the streets of Downtown Mineral Wells as the community prepares for the 2013 Homecoming Parade.
Only, this year – instead of turning west on Hubbard Street, toward Miller Stadium – the parade will turn east on S.E. 1st Street.
“The parade will continue in the left lane until it reaches the Bank of America building, at which point the procession will be slowed and the band, any foot traffic and other non-motorized elements will be picked up by buses and private vehicles,” said Chief of Police Dean Sullivan.
Any high school students who were on foot in the parade will be transported to the bonfire site.
In years past, any member or group that was not motorized would continue on foot all the way down West Hubbard until they reached Miller Stadium.
“The floats will continue however, at a very slow pace,” Sullivan explained, adding that police will escort parade floats all the way down S.E. 1st Street until they reach Farm-to-Market Road 1821.
At this point, he said the parade will turn north on FM 1821 to Ram Boulevard.
Once the floats reach Ram Boulevard, it is unclear at the moment as to whether or not band members, the Wranglerettes, and the cheerleaders will regroup for the parade en route to the bonfire.
“Using some improvised containers and particular types of wood that doesn’t have embers and won’t create a fire hazard, we’ll have a bonfire in the parking lot,” Sullivan said. “Due to the burn ban, we’re proposing an alternative and much safer solution.”
The bonfire is expected to begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Mineral Wells High School Principal Jon Almeida said he would like to see both the students and the community involved in this year’s homecoming rituals.
“It’s supposed to mesh the school – more particularly the high school – and the community together,” said Almeida.
City law enforcement and school administrators made these changes to the homecoming parade route and the location and setup of the bonfire amidst rising safety concerns.
“We took our proposal the student council and senior class officers. By doing so, we felt as if we had the best interest of the student body,” Almeida explained.
After discussing the proposed changes, the student leadership all responded positively.
The students also suggested a ballot be installed for a homecoming king, new this year, which Almeida later approved. For the first time in history, the students of Mineral Wells High School nominated both a male and female for a complete homecoming court.
During the halftime of the homecoming game, a homecoming queen and homecoming princesses will be crowned, like in years past. But this year, they will now be accompanied by a homecoming king, and homecoming princes.
In addition to Sullivan, Almeida and the student leadership, MWISD Superintendent Gail Haterius, MWHS Student Council sponsor Libby Wiley and senior class sponsor Donna Parker also played a role in orchestrating the events.