A haunted house, scary stories and a Halloween Monster Mash parade — Millersville University’s 2019 Homecoming comes with a bit of a twist this year.
The highly anticipated Homecoming week is underway and will continue through the week, with everything from lectures and a comedian to an alumni golf tournament. The week culminates on Saturday with a parade, football game against Shepherd University and reunion dinners that evening.
This year’s Homecoming will honor the classes of 1969, 1964 and 1959. The three classes will have their own receptions followed by dinner and an Ad Astra induction. Ad Astra, Latin for “to the stars,” was formerly the slogan for the University. Alumni who reach their 50th class anniversary are inducted into the Ad Astra society and are honored with a pin.
This year’s homecoming headliner is Preacher Lawson, a comedian most recently seen on American’s Got Talent, season 12 and America’s Got Talent: The Champions. Lawson will perform in the Student Memorial Center (SMC) on Oct. 22 from 8-9 p.m.
Other events specifically designed for students throughout the week include the Emotion Matrix Haunted Rollercoaster, Marauder Pride Crafternoon and Headphone Disco.
Alumni will also have the opportunity to tour campus and participate in social events, including dinners, an alumni softball game and the golf outing. The tent party, beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, will feature hundreds of Millersville alumni from different years rekindling friendships.
Homecoming week is an exciting time for the current students, staff, alumni and community, said Gabrielle Buzgo, assistant director of alumni engagement at Millersville.
“This is one of the biggest events that brings alumni and friends back to campus,” she said. “Homecoming is a time to relive their best memories and share in the Marauder pride.”
Of course, Homecoming’s main attraction is the Millersville University-Community Parade, which begins on Oct. 26 at 9 a.m. The theme of this year’s parade is “Monster Mash.”
The parade will span from Herr Avenue to Landis Avenue to George Street to James Street, finishing near the SMC on campus. It will feature about 2,300 people total, said Steve DiGuiseppe, assistant vice president for advancement & director of external relations at MU, and parade chairman.
Twenty-three bands, floats, antique cars, fire and emergency apparatus, mascots and costumed characters, baton troupes, civic and community groups and a special honor division will be a part of this year’s parade. The parade will also honor local veterans, complete with a ceremony from Randolph-Macon Academy Air Force Jr. ROTC group.
Local bands, orchestras, entertainers and Cylo, the Lancaster Barnstormers mascot, will all be in attendance. The efforts were made possible by donations from the community, DiGuiseppe said. The parade committee received around $100,000 dollars in gifts to budget for the parade.
“We are one of the biggest parades in the state of Pennsylvania,” said DiGuiseppe. “I like to refer to us as one of the most eclectic and diverse parades. It’s the most eclectic array of music you can think of, along with steppers and all different types of percussion instruments.”
DiGuiseppe is anticipating around 15,000 people in attendance with good weather. Judges will be in place for marching bands, floats, batons and non-instrumental groups. Emcees for the parade are WGAL’s Lori Burkholder and Ronnie Ramone from Fun 101.3 FM, two Millersville alums.
The Grand Marshal for this year’s event is the Millersville Women’s Club. It’s the first time a group has been honored in such a way during the 23-year history of the Millersville Parade.
“They were selected for all of the community service they do for the borough,” DiGuiseppe said. “We usually do it for an individual but thought it would be neat to give it to a local organization that does so much.”