The Homecoming Parade is an event that is held annually at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The Homecoming Parade consists of various floats competing for their float to win first place. Strong participants include school clubs, Greek organizations, and independent teams. It has been a big tradition on the campus for over eighty years and will continue to be for a very long time.
All across the nation, there are many different colleges and universities that each have their own unique traditions, activities, and festivities that are celebrated every year. The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is no exception to that rule. Here at Georgia Tech, there are many different traditions that have existed on the campus to make things more interesting for the many hundreds of thousands of students who either currently attend or have attended this beautiful campus. One of the more intriguing traditions that still exists to this day are the parades that occur in early October as part of the Homecoming Game. In high school, one of the weeks that is most often looked forward to by all of the students is the week before the annual Homecoming Game. During that week, many different fun things are done to help raise the school spirit and morale before the big game. For example, many high schools will do a theme for each day leading up to the game, where you dress up. Decades Day, Be a Star Day, Twins Day, Superhero Day, Movie Character Day, and many, many other different themes are some of the more popular ideas for the days leading up to the parade. Also with the Homecoming Week at high schools is usually a class competition between Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors to see who can create the best float. All of these festivities conclude with the actual homecoming game and the crowning of the Homecoming Queen as well as the Homecoming Court. In college, things do not change that much, at least at this university. While the students here do not celebrate themed days leading up to the homecoming game event, the float competition and parade are definitely still followed. At Georgia Tech, the different fraternities and sororities all compete to see who can have the grandest float at the Homecoming Parade, which takes place right before the Homecoming Game during early October. They focus on competing in three different classes of floats. The first class of these interesting floats is contraption, where the objective is to design a float out of the ordinary. The class which follows Contraption is Fixed Body. Finally, after the Fixed Body class is Classics. The Classics part of the parade is exactly what the name implies: Classic Cars. The type of floats that appear in this section are cars that most closely resemble the Wreck. Prizes are awarded in each of these classes for first, second, and third places. A requirement for the parade is for there to be fire extinguishers present because you never know when you will need one to fix a malfunctioning float!
The homecoming parade is important to the history of Georgia Tech because it has been around for over eighty years! The first one was held in 1929 and has been celebrated every single year since the year 1932 with the exception of the few years that World War II was held during, 1942 through 1945. Because of the length of time it has endured, it has earned its spot for important campus events!
Something that most people do not know about the Wreck Parade is that the ideas for each float and car are right in line with what a lot of things that Georgia Tech is known for: technology based and lots of engineering. The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the most prestigious schools in the nation, if not the world in its multiple colleges of engineering and its scientific based degree programs as well. Because of this, it would only make sense that the people who attended this college in the 1920s would choose to base it on what the school was and was most well known for! In the three different classes of float and car ideas for the parade, there are many creative things that the prospective engineers here at Georgia Tech think of to try to make their float as crazy as is humanly possible so that they will win the parade and be able to have bragging rights for it in the future. Many crazy concepts that have made appearances in the parade include things such as propulsion-based engines and jet-propelled engines. In the Contraption class of cars, the engineers are allowed to pretty much any concept they have and put their mental designs to use and make them a reality for their cars. They can go as out of the normal as they want to, they just have to make sure that their float will still run.
Influences of the Parade
As far as the Ramblin Reck parade making an impact on the school of Georgia Tech and the city of Atlanta is concerned, it has played a huge role! Since a lot of people at the school do look forward to the homecoming parade and the homecoming game, the parade is very important to them! Also, since the Reck is one of our mascots, along with Buzz, it plays a crucial role in our school’s history. Most Tech students and citizens of Atlanta look forward to this event. As a child growing up in South Carolina, I know that I got really into the school spirit of the schools like Clemson and the University of South Carolina. I can imagine that the children here that grow up in Atlanta get the same kind of spirit with the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech being so close to them! I am sure that for them going to witness this parade is a very exciting event for them to see and also for the parents!
Origin and Changes
The Ramblin Reck parade originated in the year 1929, but back then it was not really a parade so much as a “race to Athens”, according to Wikipedia. From 1929 to the year 1932, the parade followed the format of the race. Then in the year 1932, the race was cancelled because many people deemed it unsafe. Because many students argued about the importance of the race and its signifigance to them, the race was officially changed to a parade. And, because the school is so full of engineers who wanted to vent their creativity, the three different classes of the cars ideas was presented and approved. Since then, this idea has been proven to be successful as the tradition is now over seventy years old and is a continued success to this day! It was set into motion as an event that was supposed to magnify the rivalry between Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia which is still very apparent to this day. Over the course of the 80 plus years that this tradition has been going on, it has gone through many changes. One of the most apparent changes it has gone through is one that was already discussed earlier in this article; which is the fact that it got changed from a giant car race to Athens to adopting the standard parade format. Also, in the year 1942, the parade was suspended due to a fuel shortage caused by World War II. In 1943 when the parade was resumed, a new rule was mandated that said that all of the floats had to be all moved by hand and be totally hand operated. However, in 1946 the parade floats and cars were allowed to be powered by gasoline again.