Marine Jaouen, Broadside Correspondent

The chilly conditions and quickly dissipating sunlight did not deter the dedicated Patriot fans who came out to watch the 1st annual George Mason University Homecoming Parade.

The parade led followers to the 12th annual Homecoming Pregame Block Party, building excitement for the anticipated men’s Basketball Homecoming game.

Beginning at the Rappahannock Parking Deck, the parade followed Patriot Circle around to the Patriot Center. Led by President Merten, the parade included student organizations, but also contributed an eclectic mix of student organizations and other oddities.

Resembling a walking forest, the George Mason Rowing Team held up oars rising high above their heads. The RT 66 PT Cruisers Club showed off their flashy vehicles, adorned with beads, balloons, Mardi Gras masks and logos, and a stuffed tiger also decorated with party beads. The Spunkmeyer cookie mobile was escorted by a vivacious Cookie Monster and three women dressed as a cookie, a spoon and a glass of milk.

Several fraternities and sororities also paraded and Mason’s own Patriot escorted the Mason cheerleaders.

Finally, the Jazz Ensemble brought up the rear, performing Mason’s fight song and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

The block party allowed friends and Patriot fans to socialize and share their appreciation of Mason culture. Students wore green and yellow attire that prominently displayed Mason’s logo, elevating the sense of community amongst the crowd. Heated tents provided a chance for families to participate in face painting and other arts and crafts, or to grab refreshments.

Senior Mike Parks volunteered at the snack tables. Vice President of the L-TEAM, a student group who promotes Leadership, Training, Empowerment And Motivation, Parks got a chance to watch the parade.
“I was impressed,” Parks said. “I especially liked the brass band.”

He was, however, disappointed about not being able to attend the game. “I wish they didn’t run out of student tickets,” said Parks.

The parade and block party would not have been successful without the intense level of student involvement. With the wide variety of student groups participating, the 1st annual Homecoming Parade was a spirited success.