Thousands expected for parade

Abbie Moeller

Thousands of spectators will line the streets of central campus to watch the 77th Annual Veishea Parade at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

About 80 floats, dignitaries and balloons will be in the parade, representing a “wide spectrum of the university and community,” said Brett Showalter, parade co-chairman.

“So many people on campus take a lot of pride in Veishea,” said Showalter, senior in agronomy.

However, he said people who aren’t directly involved don’t realize the all the hard work that goes into planning Veishea events.

Brent Carmichael, parade co-chairman, said groups have been planning for this year’s parade since the beginning of the school year.

The light-hearted mood of the parade and watching people arrive and enjoy it is one of Carmichael’s favorite rewards, he said.

But sometimes things go wrong in the parade, like when a float caught fire last year. Carmichael, senior in agronomy, said parade leaders plan for mishaps and problems by having safety codes and emergency drills.

“We try to think of everything and anything that could go wrong and hope nothing does,” he said.

Besides trying to ensure safety, Carmichael said one of the hardest parts of planning the parade is selecting entries. He said there usually are too many entries to allow them all to participate.

Both Carmichael and Showalter said they liked working with people on the parade.

Showalter said he especially enjoyed seeing the younger committee members mature throughout the year.

The parade’s grand marshal will be women’s basketball head coach Bill Fennelly.

Fennelly said the honor is not based on his personal accomplishments.

“It wouldn’t be me, it would be my team,” he said.

Fennelly said he will give a speech at the opening ceremonies Friday afternoon and “ride in a fancy car” in the parade.

Although being grand marshal will be a new experience for him, Fennelly said he and the team have participated in Veishea for the past four years. He said the players have signed autographs, judged three-point and slam dunk contests and ridden on floats.

“We have tried to be as accessible as possible,” Fennelly said.

KCCQ 105.1 FM will be broadcasting the parade from Beardshear Hall, and KCCI-TV 8 will be in front of the Memorial Union.