Ohio University Homecoming Parade Changes Route

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Ohio University’s Annual Homecoming Parade has been bringing alumni back since 1932. This year, though, due to the Union Street fire in the fall of 2014, participants will be marching to the beat on a new route.

The parade will still start down at the corner of Factory and Union Street and work it’s way up the Union Street hill. But instead of carrying on straight past Jackie O’s and Buffalo Wild Wings toward Court Street, this year the parade is turning right onto South Congress.

The change has prompted resistance from both participants and uptown business owners. Some worry the move off the bricks will dampen the parade’s mood. But Alena Klimas marches in the parade each year and isn’t bothered by the change.

“For the most part I’d say it doesn’t matter and that Homecoming is more than just a route,” said Klimas. “So I think this year will be just as great as last year and people will be just as excited.”

Court Street business owners, though, are expecting to miss the business. Gene Armes, spokesperson of the Uptown Athens Business Owners Association, fears the potential loss in sales.

“I’m sure some of these people will make it up here eventually but it’ll have to hurt sales,” said Armes. “The further down court street you’re located, the worse the impact is gonna be.”

Athens Police Department’s Chief of Police Tom Pyle is aware of these fears. “I’ve heard those concerns and that’s not uncommon. I mean we have those concerns with the Halloween event where we block off parking. We’ve fielded complaints from business owners; Where we block off the streets, what time we block off the streets.”

Klimas says she expects people will still go uptown after the parade, despite the route change.

“Athens is a pretty small town and court street is everyone’s favorite place to go, so I feel like the businesses will be just as busy.”

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 10th. Event planners stress the parade will go on rain or shine. This year’s theme is “Same Bricks, Different Stories.” Following the parade, Ohio University Bobcat Football will be playing Miami of Ohio down at Peden Stadium. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.