With MTSU’s homecoming — all the festivities and football game between the Blue Raiders and Vanderbilt — less than a month away, campus officials want the public to know the Homecoming Parade route will change noticeably.
This year’s parade and future parades will no longer turn down Middle Tennessee Boulevard from East Main Street but will instead continue east on Main to Baird Lane.
Looming road construction by the City of Murfreesboro on a section of Middle Tennessee Boulevard between East Main and Greenland Drive led MTSU officials to change the route.
This year’s parade is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3.
The parade, an annual tradition that will start at the intersection of North Maney Avenue and East Main Street, will continue on East Main past the stone campus entrance monument at Old Main Circle.
Rhonda King, an Office of Alumni Relations assistant director, said the prime parade viewing area for MTSU students, alumni and supporters will be along East Main Street, particularly from Central Magnet School to Baird Lane.
Parade entries — including the Band of Blue and various floats and vehicles — will eventually turn left onto North Baird Lane and end at Alumni Drive.
This year’s parade grand marshal is MTSU alumnus (’76) and retired Lt. Gen. William N. “Bill” Phillips of the U.S. Army.
“With the pending changes to Middle Tennessee Boulevard, we felt this was an opportune time to look at alternatives for our parade route,” said Joe Bales, vice president for university advancement. “The parade is one of the hallmarks of our homecoming celebration and we wanted to assure our alumni and students, as well as the community, that it would remain a feature of the weekend.”
“The route down East Main Street was important because it’s an important symbol of the direct connection between the university and the larger Murfreesboro community that we’re proud to be part of,” Bales added.
Thee homecoming date and game time were announced in last spring. MTSU administrators, alumni relations and Student Government Association officials have known they eventually would have to change the route because of the road project.
For decades, the MTSU Homecoming Parade traveled down East Main Street and turned onto Middle Tennessee Boulevard, formerly known as North Tennessee Boulevard. Then it headed toward Greenland Drive before winding up at Faulkinberry Drive near Alumni Memorial Gym.
The Office of Alumni Relations’ former “Mixer on Middle” parade-watching party will now be known as the “Mixer on Main” and will shift to the south corner of the President’s Lawn, near the monument at East Main Street and Old Main Circle, for its 1o:30 a.m. start.
“We’re excited about it being in a different location, which allows more space for the celebratory crowd, and will continue the tradition of popular ‘Mixer’ festivities — souvenir photos, the announcers and DJ and a lot of blue and white balloons,” King said.
For questions about the parade route or to make a reservation for the 12:30 p.m. Oct. 3 tailgate lunch at Mixer on Main, visit mtalumni.com or call 800-533-6878.
Kickoff for the MTSU-Vanderbilt game will be 6 p.m. in Floyd Stadium.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)