Homecoming floats: From start to finish

Video by Christina Soto | Broadcast Reporter and story by Ben Woolley | Reporter

They’ve been planning for months and building for weeks, now all of their hard work will be displayed for the public this weekend. For over 100 years, Baylor fraternities and sororities have built extravagant contraptions and the wait for this year’s float contest is almost over. The homecoming parade will be at 8 a.m. Saturday in Downtown Waco and 5th Street on campus.

Baylor is widely considered the first school to have a homecoming parade with the first being in 1909. Thousands of students, families and Wacoans come together each year to show their love for green and gold, by enjoying various floats.

Criteria for judging floats come from six categories. Title and theme, proportions, animation and special effects, craftsmanship, public appeal and ingenuity. Floats that have proportional features and look realistic will win more points. Motion and sound will score with animation and special effects. Neatness, solid construction, proper working of mechanical parts all contribute towards points in the craftsmanship field. The enjoyment of the float by the audience will also rack up points towards public appeal. According to the judging criteria, a unique idea with creative implementation is expected.

Preparation is extensive for float builders. Every fraternity and sorority puts in lots of time to get their float up to par to be presented for the judges.

“You have to first develop a theme,” Longview senior and Kappa Omega Tau float chair Judson Murray said. “Then explore the ideas of that theme you want on your float. Then you have to design the float. Then you have to start building ,which requires lots of materials and hours. Then you have to make it pretty.”

Every organization goes about the process differently. Hannah Lang, head float chair for Alpha Delta Pi can attest to this. She has a float chair committee of four girls, and she says it takes every member to make a great float.

“Lots of hands is a great thing. It’s all about team effort. The more members the better,” said Lang.

She hopes the audiences will react positively to their float. She and her float chairs along with members of TKE have been planning since Diadeloso last year for this years float. “It’s a blessing to see all of our hard work come together.”

Head float chairs have a lot of responsibility. Lang is responsible for logging hours, sending out schedules, finding locations to build, coming up with the idea for float, creating a budget for float as well as rent and electricity and organizing weekly meetings.

“It was a challenge at first, coordinating everything, because the fraternity is a whole lot smaller than our sorority,” Lang said. “It’s hard coordinating schedules to fit everybody’s availability, but the guys have been great.”