Bellefonte homecoming shows Red Raider spirit

bmilazzo@centredaily.comOctober 11, 2013 

— The rain didn’t put a damper on the Bellefonte homecoming parade Thursday night.

If anything, it amplified the rain forest theme for the freshman class float that was part of the school’s biome theme.

The senior class made a float that mimicked the tundra, the junior class float had an oceanic theme and the sophomore class made a float like that of the savanna.

Other sports teams had their own floats while community organizations like the YMCA participated in the parade, and each nominated class queen was escorted on the hood of a fancy vehicle and covered by an umbrella.

Last year’s senior king and queen Dan Roan and Madelyne Falcone led the pack in a 1968 Pontiac Firebird, where they threw candy and waved to onlookers.

The parade was the centerpiece to spirit week leading up to the football game at 7 p.m. against Penns Valley, where Roan and Falcone will crown the new class royalty.

“It’s kind of nice to be back and relive homecoming,” Falcone said.

For the senior class, they said it was extra special despite a float malfunction.

“This year’s been the most fun,” said senior Shelby Watson, 18, who has been a part of the parade for four years. “It’s a time where our class really comes together and celebrates the pride of Bellefonte.”

About a dozen seniors were the masterminds behind the tundra-themed float that highlighted an igloo made of milk jugs, a faux snowman, a north pole that stuck out of the trailer and Eyad Ghoname, 17, who dressed like Santa Claus.

Unfortunately after more than an hour of crafting the igloo, it fell apart during the parade.

“It’s not even a big deal, because we still had so much fun the last couple weeks making it,” said senior Sarah Horner, 17. “This year has just been the best.”

Other seniors like Josh Weaver, 18, dressed as a reindeer with real antlers, while Gage Wert, 17, acted as an Eskimo fisherman.

The junior class float with an “under the water” theme stood out as fluorescent colors could be seen from afar. Those colors crafted the coral reef as juniors Matt Feldman, 16, Trent Fortney, 16, Slava Gusev, 17, Sarah Menna, 16, Brooke Nadolsky, 16, and Arian Okhovat, 15, dressed as scuba divers and mermaids.

“We really wanted to incorporate the color aspect to the reef,” Feldman said, who also explained it took about 10 hours to create the reef out of tissue paper and twine.

Class advisers Stephanie Herb and Corey Mease said the floats were all student-made.

“We didn’t have much to do with it,” Mease said. “They took the initiative upon themselves.”

Throughout the parade, rain trickled off the drumsticks of the Bellefonte Area High School marching band drum line at every hit, while the band serenaded the crowd with the Bellefonte fight song.

Senior majorettes Lauren Filipowicz, 17, Claudia Johnstonbaugh, 17, and Aleah Wolfe, 17, said representing a piece of their school is an honor, but something they’ll miss once it’s over.

“You wear the colors that represent your school, then it’s over,” Johnstonbaugh said. “It just really means a lot to be marching for the last time.”

The annual bonfire that followed the parade and pep rally is the homecoming event seniors said they’d miss the most. During the bonfire, the football team was honored and the marching band ended with a number.

“It’s just something that unites us all and something that gives us a lot of Bellefonte pride,” Wolfe said.

Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @ M11azzo.

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