College parade enlivens downtown Westminster

October 18, 1992|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Two-year-old Hank Tillman of Hampstead loves a parade.

"The parade's not coming, Mommy," said Hank, peering up Longwell Avenue as a city police car flashed its lights. "But look at that truck."

Hank seemed more interested in the last pickup making its way down the Westminster Main Street before police halted traffic for about 30 minutes yesterday and allowed Western Maryland College's homecoming floats and marchers to travel north to the campus.

Mrs. Tillman said her son loves to watch the lines of fire engines in the county's carnival parades. Instead of hoses, hooks and ladders, the little boy saw tractors pulling floats, cheerleaders dressed in the college colors, mule-drawn carriages and the Westminster Municipal Band.

"I was wondering why everybody was standing out here," said Wendy Mueller, coming out of her collectibles shop. "If I had known, I might have had a sale."

As the band played lively marching tunes, more people poured out of Main Street businesses to cheer the marchers.

"Hey, Vinnie, we heard the music and thought you were having a party," said a woman to the owner of the Tattoo Shop.

Members of a college fraternity filled a psychedelically painted Volkswagen bus and shouted "peace" and "flower power."

The students passed out lollipops to children sitting along the curbs. On roller blades, Russ Weber skated in and out of the other marchers.

"We do this every year," he said, catching his breath. "We finish at the top of the hill and sing 'Hail to the Chief' to the college president."

Several students took the opportunity to do some politicking, decorating floats with posters touting favorite candidates.

"My flaming liberal daughter has a Clinton/Gore sign," said Louis Purcaro, who had traveled from Pompton Lakes, N.J., to see his daughter, Kristen, in the parade. "Actually, it's nice to see young people trying to get others out to vote."

Supporters of both political parties seemed well represented.

"We tried to be fair, not biased to one party," said Mark Hughes, a WMC junior. "We got a lot of support from the town."

Lakeisha Rivers, a WMC sophomore, said her float, decorated with "The Choice is Yours," focused on issues.

"Hunger, the environment, housing are political issues that need to be addressed," she said.

"Vote for our future," shouted children aboard the WMC Young Alumni float.

Bundled up in a winter coat, Antanina Chesno said she was surprised more people had not come out for the parade.

"The college waits too long to advertise these things," she said. "After all the preparation they go through for these things, it's a shame so few people show up."

If Mrs. Chesno had watched from the campus, at the other end of the parade, she would have seen well over 500 people surrounding the entrances to the college.

At the entrance to the Scott S. Bair Stadium, the marchers dismantled the floats. A student jumped out of a huge cardboard cake, celebrating the college's 125th birthday.

"That's the end," shouted one alumnus to his friends. "Now, let's go see some football."

At half-time of the tight game against Dickinson College, members of two sororities -- Phi Mu and Phi Sigma Sigma -- let out a loud cheer. The groups were announced as the winners of the James Brant Memorial Cup award, presented annually to the Greek organization that has excelled in academics, varsity sports, leadership and community service.

The Alumnus of the Year award went to Vernon R. Simpson, Class of 1936. Robin N. Garland, Class of 1984, was honored with the Young Alumna Service award.

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