For the first time in recent memory—maybe in the entire history of the Excelsior Springs Homecoming tradition—the Homecoming Parade this year will be held on the west side of town.
Homecoming is heavily identified with downtown, but a combination of circumstances dictated the change for 2011.
The new route, as it’s been communicated to The Standard, begins at Excelsior Springs Middle School, travels southward on Crown Hill Road, turns east at Wornall Road and continues until it turns north on Tiger Drive. The route ends at Excelsior Springs High School.
Homecoming Parade Committee members were holding out hope for a downtown parade, but it’s apparently not in the cards.
Police Chief John McGovern said originally, the parade was going to need to move due to planned construction in the downtown area. It turns out the construction almost certainly won’t begin until after Homecoming on Sept. 30, but now it’s too late to make arrangements downtown.
“We usually bring in 10 to 15 officers from other jurisdictions to help direct traffic and provide crowd control,” McGovern said. “But most of those other agencies like to have at least two months’ notice.”
The route on the west side, being more direct and with fewer side streets, can be maintained with only the use of local officers, he said.
Rumblings around town since the information started becoming available came with various questions about parking, where spectators would stand and where the parade would line up and disperse.
McGovern says plans are in place for all of it.
“We’ll stage at the middle school parking lot,” he said. There are plans to disperse at the high school’s north parking lot. A contingency plan is in place for younger parade participants to be picked up in the Catholic church parking lot, away from the older kids and traffic.
“There’s all kinds of parking,” McGovern added, noting that the south parking lot at the high school, the parking lot at Barbee Memorial Presbyterian Church across the street and the grassy field at the corner of Tiger Drive and Wornall Road will all be available, plus at least one other spot for overflow parking.
Spectators will mostly be spread out along Wornall Road, he added. Between six and nine sets of bleachers will be brought in to maximize the viewing area in the places best suited for seating.
There were also concerns about the length of the parade. But a look at a map shows that the difference is only about 500 feet; there’s only the illusion that it’s shorter because there aren’t as many turns.
“I was surprised to find out there’s only a tenth of a mile difference,” McGovern said.
“I think it’s going to work out very well,” he added, though he noted that the plan is still to move the parade back downtown as soon as construction is complete.
By Eric Copeland • firstname.lastname@example.org
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By Eric Copeland • email@example.com