PSWE made history when it presented its first Homecoming float in the Boilermaker Night Parade last Friday. In response to the Homecoming theme, “Once Upon a Homecoming,” PSWE decided to walk down Yellow Brick Road alongside Dorothy and friends from the world of Oz.
“The board member (committee) decided that our theme should be ‘There is no place like Homecoming,’” Brittany Kaiser, Social Competitions Chair, said. “It’s a spin off from the Wizard of Oz slogan (‘There is no place like home’).”
PSWE’s Homecoming float appearance served as an upgrade from last year’s involvement. Instead of “just walking,” PSWE wanted to “go bigger this Homecoming, according to Ashley Stroup, president.
“We had a lot of fun walking in the parade last year,” Stroup said. “However, we wanted to get our name out in a bigger way. Homecoming is the one time on campus that all the student organizations come together to celebrate something in common. What better way to show (PSWE’s) name than being part of the parade.”
Additionally, PSWE’s slogan and Wizard of Oz characters represented the organization “very well,” according to Stroup.
“Having Dorothy as one of the characters really promotes PSWE,” Stroup said. “She is a strong female character who isn’t love struck all the time.”
Indeed, as the slogan promotes, there was no place like PSWE’s recreation of the Oz world. Board and general members transformed a flatbed trailer into the Yellow Brick Road pointing toward Emerald City skyline and the fallen house where the Wicked Witch of the West melted to her doom. Made out of support pipes and green cloth sheets, Emerald City’s towers supported Christmas-style lights that illuminated the float, showing characters like the Tin Man (Stroup), the Wicked Witch (Sequoia Murray, treasurer), Dorothy (Karen Shultz, Public Relations Director), and Toto (Woofles, Stroup’s Terrier).
During the parade, the float presented the famous scene in which Dorothy accidentally threw water at the Wicked Witch, melting her into green goo. With the help of a fog machine, the witch’s screams were heard by nostalgic students and flabbergasted local Lafayette children. The lollipop guild passed out candy to the audience, who cheered as the melting scene unfolded.
Before the parade, Kaiser, who organized the float building and character casting, predicted that the Lafayette community would respond to the Homecoming theme “with memories and interest.” Seeing the local children’s mixed emotions of shock and wonder proved her right.
“The parade and theme is good for the community,” Kaiser explained. “It gets the community involved and it’s fun for the kids, especially when they see their favorite fairytale characters.”