Get out of the way! Run for your lives! It's the Homecoming review blog post!
Now, c'mon ... really. Are you afraid of the Emory Alumni Association's Homecoming float? We were going about 2 miles an hour. Our rockin' red truck, though, was the only thing about the weekend that didn't move fast.
Keep reading for a few more observations about Emory Homecoming Weekend.
- Next time I work the beer tent (my job at Saturday's Homecoming carnival), I want a tip jar. I swear with the volume of patrons we had ... at normal tipping rates ... I could have financed a vacation. Emory alumni do know how to have fun. And they're polite and patient. Didn't hear one complaint from our guests about waiting in line.
- The Homecoming Hospitality Center on the first floor of the new Emory bookstore was a popular place. Could have been because of the free stuff. More than 2,000 Emory shirts were given away to excited alumni and their children.
- For the second year, I got to drive the EAA's float in the Homecoming Parade. For 2010, it was a bright red Chevy truck. The kind of red that, if I was actually driving it on the road, I'd have to pay extra insurance.
- I need to work on my Frisbee throwing from behind the wheel. Way too many off-target ducks. Our students and alumni did a great job -- throwing t-shirts and souvenir cups from the bed of the truck. Part of that ineptitude, though, was my concern about running over the We Are Emory walkers immediately in front of me. Walkers in a parade? What's up with that?
- Yes, my throwing need a bit of work, but I could have used a better receiving corps, too. On more than one occasion, parade-goers were hit square in the chest by a Frisbee they were blissfully unaware of. And it's not like they were thrown hard. Open your eyes behind those shades, people!
- Every year, the Homecoming parade gets better. Several young alumni I spoke with were amazed at the event's growth. For them, during their student days, Homecoming was an afterthought -- a birthday party for the kid no one liked. People may have shown up, and they brought a present, but it wasn't like anyone had any fun. The 2010 parade, though, was a capital-E Event. High-concept floats. Complicated accompanying dance routines. Streamers and balloons and face paint and lots of skeletons. Those young alumni may not have thought much of previous Homecomings, but to a person, they told me they'd come back for the next one and the one after that. And that's what we like to hear.
- Random memory ... the song playing on the truck's radio as we cruised through Asbury Circle was Brad Paisley's "Water." As festive a song as any.
- One of the best places to watch the parade was the Residence Life reunion at Dobbs Hall. At least that's what we heard. Once the sun went down, the best views were had at the Class of 1970's 40-year reunion atop Woodruff Library.
- Kids had a blast at Saturday's festival. The super slide was particularly popular. Every time they got to bottom, they just got back in line. Kind of like the adults in the beer lines.
- The Shadowboxers opened Saturday's concert and they were tighter and more polished than 90 percent of the bands touring at this moment. Visit their Facebook and MySpace pages now (their hooky brand of guitar/keyboard-driven rock is reminiscent of Maroon 5). The quartet of Scott Schwartz 11C, Matt Lipkins 11C, Adam Hoffman 11B, and Jamie Reilly 11C clearly have a bright musical future ahead of them.
- It was a Homecoming in every sense of the word for the headlining Indigo Girls -- Emily Saliers 85C (who had already participated in several Homecoming events earlier in the weekend, including a creativity conversation with her dad, emeritus professor Don Saliers) and Amy Ray 86C were in great moods. Their stage banter included Emory memories mixed in with favorites both new and old. And they drove their own cars to the show, too.
- We don't have a solid concert attendance figure yet, but we ran out of Emory buttons (which doubled as tickets) very early (we had 1,500 to start). Many of the late-comers got "Future Alumni" buttons. I must admit, I chuckled inside whenever I saw a 30-, 40-, or 50-something wearing the button we had originally designed for the kids.
- Dooley was all over the place. He visited several reunions, stood in the front row for the 25-year reunion's class picture (and ended up in dozens more personal photos across campus). His favorite, though, was probably the Class of 1995's 15-year shindig. He arrived, hung out for awhile, left, then came back for an encore.
- The Class of 1965 was overheard planning for 2015. That's when they celebrate their 50-year reunion and march in Commencement as part of Corpus Cordis Aureum.
- You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Saturday night's class reunions all ended somewhere between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. The official part anyway. Alumni after parties continued at evening haunts like Johnny's Hideaway, Eclipse di Luna, Loca Luna, Sutra, and, of course, Eagle Row.
- The weather throughout Homecoming Weekend was spectacular. Until Sunday. Dreary and rainy all day though it was, a great crowd helped dedicate the Marcus Hillel Center and more than 70 guests turned out for the annual reception for the Emory Travel Program, where our trips for 2011 were introduced. Given the weather, it was a good thing our visitors could see the world without stepping outside.