Residents had their lawn chairs lined up throughout downtown streets hours before the State College Area High School homecoming parade even started.
Children were throwing footballs on the sidewalks, while groups of others were dressed in gray and maroon to show their support for the Little Lions.
For the community, this was an event that kicks off fall and builds spirit before the team plays Central Dauphin today.
“I don’t remember a time we didn’t sit out here for it,” said Carla Manzo, who set up a chair on South Allen Street near Sunrise Terrace with her two children. “They’re going be here at the high school some day, and this is where we grew up. It’s a tradition and probably the next best thing to Penn State.”
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The parade began at 6 p.m. and lasted until dusk with a pep rally at the football field as more than half of the school participated in the parade by throwing candy to onlookers from their floats.
The parade began in the high school parking lot and headed east on Westerly Parkway to South Allen Street, north on South Allen Street to Nittany Avenue then west on Nittany Avenue to South Fraser Street and ended at Memorial Field.
And for State High seniors, the parade was more special this year as they had their own float with the theme, “Hear Our Roar in 2014.”
“It’s how we show school spirit,” said senior Dana Springer.
Springer was among more than two-dozen other classmates who helped craft the float with senior class advisor Jeff Kissell and classmates J.B. Bergman, Taylor Brennan, Grant Davis, Brooke Fecko, Allison Hester, Kelly Leddy, Margee Lenze, Megan Robert, Gina Walter, Jordan Weaver, Daniel Yoon and more.
“Some of us came together to help out and it’s about having a good time doing it,” Bergman said.
Kissell said he set up numerous meetings throughout the start of the school year for seniors to help out.
“What’s nice is that the kids did all the work themselves and came up with a theme,” Kissell said. “I’ve been doing this for 23 years and each year you get a different class full of unique individuals, but all have one thing in common: to have fun and show school spirit.”
Kissell said this year there were about 65 floats made by athletic teams, clubs and school classes.
“We show a lot of school pride with the community behind us,” Leddy said.
The Little Lions take on the Central Dauphin Rams at 7 p.m. Friday.