The sirens on the police cars and fire trucks sounded off and the bright red and blue lights signaled the beginning of the 2003 Eastern New Mexico University homecoming parade Saturday morning.
Parents, children and residents gathered on the sides of First Street in the downtown area in anticipation of the parade.
Portales residents attended the events despite the breezy conditions. The National Weather Service called for west winds from 10 to 15 miles per hour.
“We have our staple gun and tape ready for the wind (to protect the float),” Jim Dendy, president of the Collegiate Future Farmers of America, said.
The theme of the parade was classic movies and the movie theme for the Chi Omega sorority entry was the “Wizard of Oz.” Chi Omega members were dressed as the Lion, Dorothy, Scarecrow and the Tin Man. The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity had its float decorated with a giant King Kong knocking down buildings made of flimsy paper mache.
Susan White of Clovis came to Portales because her daughter is a Chi Omega member and was participating in the parade. White brought her two-year old niece, Ryanne White, to enjoy the parade.
“It’s a nice crisp day, White said of the weather. It looks like everybody came out to enjoy the parade.”
Portales Lindsey Middle School was complete with students on the float with The Frosty Palace as their theme.
The Collegiate FFA float was equipped with a stationary mechanical bull with children riding it. The float came complete with a banner which read, in memory of Ellsworth, “Rojo.”
Rolland Ellsworth was a freshman at ENMU who died in a bull-riding accident on Oct. 2 in a college rodeo.
“We did it because we figured it would be a good thing to do,” Dendy said.
The newly crowned Homecoming King, Brian Stein and Queen, Monique Garcia, greeted the audience before the floats made their way down First Street.
There were 100 entries and five bands from the college and the community in the parade, according to Director of the Alumni Janice Cowen. Her responsibility was setting up the special guests from the Friends of Eastern Foundation 28th Annual Breakfast in antique vehicles.
“It’s been real busy,” Cowen said. “It’s going to be an awesome parade.”
Fourteen antique vehicles preceded the police escorts at the start of the parade. The Eastern New Mexico Antique Club of Portales donated the antique vehicles for the parade.
The ENMAC donates antique cars every year to the event. Fred Fahzholtz of Portales donated his ‘59 convertible and he’s donated for the parade seven other times.
Two three-year olds, Jude Segura and Saralyn Griffin, said their favorite part of the parade was the candy. Meanwhile the parents of Segura and the parents of Griffin enjoyed the bands the most.
“It’s great to bring in the schools and get everyone in the community involved,” Angel Segura, who graduated from ENMU in 1999 and is working for the ENMU Talent Search Department said. “I think the floats and ENMU band are better this year than last year.”