Some Baylor University students and alumni are disappointed after officials were forced to alter the homecoming celebration schedule because of inclement weather forecasts.
A bonfire and fireworks display scheduled for Friday night and the parade scheduled for Saturday morning have all been canceled, Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said.
“Plans to showcase the parade floats that Baylor organizations have put so much time and effort into creating will be announced at a later date,” Fogleman said. “We are committed to making sure our students’ hard work is displayed this fall at a time when we have a lot of people on our campus.”
Officials are discussing the possibility of displaying the floats at the Baylor vs Oklahoma University game on Nov. 14, but that decision has not yet been made, she said.
Meanwhile, the pep rally, “Extravaganza” and Friday Night Flashback events were moved to the Waco Convention Center. Those activities start at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Golden Wave Band performs at 8:45 p.m., and the pep rally will be at 9 p.m. led by Baylor yell leaders and an expected visit from the Baylor football team, Fogleman said.
She added that indoor events will continue as planned, such as class reunion dinners, “Pigskin Revue” and “Singspiration.”
Matt Chelf, a senior studying public relations, is working on a Class A float in a partnership between fraternity Beta Theta Pi and sorority Chi Omega. As much as $15,000 can go into the crafting of a float, Chelf said.
“There’s a lot of man hours and time that goes into these,” he said. “I just want to make the best float that we can possibly make and have a lot of people appreciate it.”
Chelf said he found out about the cancellations from classmates after the changes were posted online.
“Initially I was really disappointed about the parade being canceled, because we want to show off our finished product,” he said, conceding, “No one wants to see their float get ruined in the rain.”
Fogleman stressed, “The entire celebration is not canceled.”
Saturday’s football game will continue as scheduled, starting at 11 a.m., but Fogleman encouraged attendees to be aware that umbrellas are prohibited inside McLane Stadium.
Baylor alumna Haley Propes, who graduated in 2012, is traveling to Waco from her home in Austin.
Excitement for football
“I’m disappointed just because the parade is such a big part of homecoming and the parade is super fun,” Propes said. “I think it creates a lot of school spirit and nostalgia for alumni, but I’m definitely more excited for the football game. We’re still excited.”
Propes, who studied studio art and public relations, said she understands the logic behind the scheduling changes, but that it’s a bigger disappointment for friends of hers coming in from California for their first homecoming after graduating.
Fogleman said free parking in downtown Waco will be available for the convention center events Friday night and that campus residents and guests may park in Baylor’s Speight Avenue parking garage at South 4th Street on Friday evening.
A limited number of shuttles will be available from Baylor’s campus to the convention center, she added.
Luke Russell, marketing specialist at the Baylor Bookstore, said a book signing will still take place from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday morning, but that the list of authors has changed because of travel plans affected by the weather.
Expected authors Derek Haas and Bob Darden canceled their appearances but will likely be rescheduled for a later date before football season ends, Russell said.
Russell said the university still anticipates about 10 writers will be signing books Saturday morning.
“We’ve been monitoring the forecast,” Fogleman said. “We made the calls now on two of the outdoor events so that people can prepare and still enjoy the experience of Baylor homecoming.”
In any case, she added, “We’ll all be there for the football game, rain or shine.”
More than 45,000 people attend homecoming events every year, Fogleman said.