Fun except for the funding - 35th annual Coronado Homecoming Parade through Old Colorado City
“They've been very gracious to us the last 35 years,” said Coronado Principal Darin Smith, in explaining a hope that going forward, the parade will be seen as an attraction of mutual interest to both the school and the Old Town shopping district.
If the businesses are willing to help defray the parade costs through advertising, “We'll promote them as much as possible,” Smith said. “We're trying to create an environment to help the parade support itself.”
This year's 35th annual parade took a step in that philosophical direction. By starting an hour later (10 a.m.) than in past years, it occurred after most of the stores had opened. Advance promotion encouraged school and community people to mingle in Bancroft Park afterward and to shop nearby. Smith reiterated that pitch in his post-parade comments in the park.
With a total of 38 entries from Coronado sports, clubs and programs as well as its feeder schools, the Sept. 19 parade lasted about a half-hour along closed-off Colorado Avenue between 30th Street and Bancroft Park. It was preceded by a fundraising pancake breakfast, cooked up by school supporters, in the park pavilion.
For the parade, several hundred people, most of them in the 2400 and 2500 blocks, lined the roadway while scores of students, staff and parents passed by on foot and in self-decorated floats, often cheering, singing and waving to the crowd.
Adding to the festivities, the Old Colorado City Library (for the fourth straight year) timed its Carnegie Day celebration, including free ice cream, for the end of the parade. The library is across the street from the park.
Regarding the parade costs, the approximate annual expense over the past five years has been $3,000. That price itself was a major uptick - prompted by city liability concerns - from the $1,000 or so before that. And Smith, a Coronado graduate in 1990, remembers when the parade cost practically nothing.
Now, with the loss of a major volunteer contributor, the annual expense has risen to about $7,000, Smith said.
The contributor was Johnson Plumbing & Heating, owned by Coronado alumnus Rick Johnson, whose employees had for more than 30 years set out (and afterward removed) no-parking signs and barricades for the parade at no cost to the school. “He's been great and put in a lot of work,” Smith said, but explained that it was no longer possible for Johnson to do that.
As a result, the school is having to contract the work to a professional company.
One idea for helping pay for next year's parade is a "fun run" up and down the closed-off avenue, Smith said. Such a race (or races) was popular for runners each year before the St. Patrick's Day Parade when it was in Old Colorado City (before relocating to the downtown after 2006).
Previous Coronado parades had started at 9 a.m. to allow preparation for the ensuing homecoming game later in the day, usually at 1 p.m. But this year, in a format the school wants to continue, the game was the night before, taking away the time crunch. As for people's responses to the change, Smith said he had “heard a lot of positives, but some people liked the old tradition.” His own opinion is that the change is better for the football team, which used to feel a little rushed - and possibly less competitive - under the previous format.
Westside Pioneer article and photos