Smithville Homecoming looks different amidst coronavirus

Homecoming in Smithville draws hundreds to the downtown area and lining the parade route down Commercial Ave. every year. In an effort to keep the celebration alive amid coronavirus this year, spectators will come to the parade rather than the parade marching to them. Additionally, for the little ones, a candy stop has been set up in the middle of this year’s “reverse parade” located around the middle school bus loop.

SMITHVILLE — Arguably one of the biggest community events of the year, Smithville School District has come up with a creative way to keep their Hollywood Homecoming parade without violating health ordinances.

Starting with a Homecoming court parade, limited to the king and queen nominees, at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 9, families are invited to step out their front doors to see the royal court taking the typical route starting at the high school and working its way around downtown Smithville before going back up to the campus.

Following the parade is a student-only pep rally on the football field from 11 a.m. to noon and then a reverse parade open to the public beginning at 1:30 p.m.

“We were told by Clay County Public Health Center that large gatherings are limited to 250 people. That would mean we would be allowed to have 250 people participating in the parade,” student council supervisor Shirl Nickols said. “So the students decided to do a reverse parade.”

This so-called “reverse” parade reverses the float and spectator roles by having everyone’s favorite floats standing still along the main district campus, 645 S. Commercial Ave., while guests drive by, similar to looking at holiday lights.

Cars arriving will begin by the high school, drive down to the middle school, where they’ll loop around and head back up through the high school parking lot and out the alternative entry/exit from the north end of the lot.

Candy has not been overlooked either. Each vehicle that goes by the middle school will pass by the candy stop for younger parade goers, not to say their older counterparts will be denied a sweet treat.

“This way, we can limit the number of people,” Nickols said. “We can also keep students in their cohorts, like football players isolated with the football team.”

While spectators will be expected to remain in their vehicles, it opens up the number of spectators as they are not considered part of the grand event.

Some differences, Nickols added, include limiting who is on display. In the past middle school sports teams have had their own floats, this year they will not be a part of the reverse parade due to limited space and maximum participation numbers.

Nickols said it wasn’t easy pulling a plan together but through determination and teamwork, STUCO was pulled it off.

“I think it’ll be a little crazy,” Nickols said, “but we are going to try it.”

Those who may be driving through the area, beware of slowed traffic and consider using alternate routes as there is a possibility of back-ups.

The Homecoming game will begin at 7 p.m.

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