Harrison, Claire and William Hoover were ready.
They saw Bob O’Donnell, State College Area School District’s superintendent, tossing candy out from his parade vehicle and waited for him to shovel handfuls toward them.
Soon, Harrison and Claire, both 3, and William, 4, would have their loot of Tootsie Rolls falling out of their hands at State High’s homecoming parade.
“They’re getting their candy,” Billie Jo Hoover, their mother, said.
It was common scene as parents cheered on their children from blankets and chairs on the sidewalk.
“And the weather, you can’t beat this weather,” Jacob Hoover, their father, said.
The parade also gave students a chance to be creative.
Senior cross country runner Josh Cannizzaro biked on an elliptical before the parade. The elliptical happened to be on the cross country team’s float with an assortment of other work out equipment.
“We get together the night before every year, and we have cardboard signs,” Cannizzaro said. “This year, the ellipticals and weight bench are new. It’s in line with our ‘Keeping Fitness Alive’ in 2015 motto, and we’re passing out 500 pedometers to promote health in the community.”
Though creative, the cross country team’s originality couldn’t garner enough support to place in the top three floats of the parade
Third place went to the girl’s soccer team’s jungle-themed float. Second place went to the Delta Program’s live band float. First place went to State High’s Auto CTC program, which created a monster truck float.
Christina Manning, the north building’s assistant principal, said 52 floats entered the parade. The parade usually gets about 40 floats a year.
“We think it’s great the community has come together like this, because we’ve seen a great increase in community support and participation this year,” Manning said.
The parade also featured distinguished alumni Jeffrey Krug, whose family led the parade’s charge from Westerly Parkway, left onto South Allen Street and left onto Nittany Avenue. Krug rode with his wife, Miriam, 14-year old daughter Viviane and 13-year old son Alan.
He is now an educator at Loyola University.
“It’s fantastic, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, that’s meant a great deal to me, my parents and my family,” Krug said. “We try to expose the kids to State College as much as we can and to be in the parade with them is something I never thought would happen.”
Seniors Sarah McNutt and Carter Hardy also got a different experience in this year’s parade.
McNutt had been in the parade with the soccer team and Hardy the football team in previous years, but this time rode on the back of a vehicle for the homecoming court.
“It’s definitely different,” McNutt said. “It’s such an honor for us to have a different part in the parade and to represent the school in a different way.”
Sue Yonkin and Robin Burman, sisters, performed with the band’s majorettes for about the 20th straight year.
They said they practice their twirling once a year for a half hour before the parade.
“It’s so much fun every year, so why not keep coming back?” Burman said. “The crowd is always amazing.”
The crowd moved from its sidewalk gathering to Memorial Field for a pep rally after the parade. They’ll be back Friday to watch the Little Lions host Harrisburg.
Senior football player Connor Pighetti wouldn’t give his prediction.
“The team has gelled this year, and we’re playing good football,” Pighetti said. “But will we beat Harrisburg ... ? We’ll see.”