Despite rain and chilly weather, 50 units and nearly 1,500 participants marched in the Oct. 11 Herndon homecoming parade. Orchestrating the event was the Town of Herndon Parks and Recreation Department and many volunteers.
“It was a great opportunity for us to take on the parade,” said Cindy S. Roeder, Director of Herndon Parks and Recreation Department. “It brings out the community and is a uniquely Herndon event.” In the past, the Herndon Homecoming parade was operated by John Mossesso, who helped run the Herndon homecoming parade operation for more than 20 years.
Homecoming spirit was evident as people lined Elden and Lynn streets to cheer athletes, performers, politicians, community groups and the Homecoming Court. Serving as MC for the event was Artistic Director of NextStop Theatre Evan Hoffmann.
Herndon High’s Robotics Team 116 Epsilon Delta displayed their catapult robot “The Angry Nerd,” and other parade highlights included the Fortnightly Library storybook characters, the Herndon Elementary circus group, Cub Scouts representing Packs 157, 913, 1570 and 1577, and the Shindogakuin Kendo Dojo group. Also participating in the parade were former Herndon mayor Del. Tom Rust (R-86) and U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11).
“I always love seeing what the kids do with the floats,” said Hendon resident Melissa Jonas. Jonas attended the event with her husband to cheer on her son who is a junior at Herndon High and a member of the school marching band.
Directing the Herndon marching band was Kathleen Jacoby. In October the band won first place in class AAAA at the Loudoun Valley HS Marching Band Showcase.
At the house of Kevin and Kathy East on Elden Street, there was a small pre-show reception with guests and friends. “Homecoming is a wonderful occasion, it is wonderful for the high school students with the parade, game and dance,” said Kathy East. “Living on Elden Street, I feel like I have been part of every parade for 32 years.”
Presiding over the parade were Mayor Lisa Merkel, Vice Mayor Jen Baker and Councilmembers Dave Kirby, Stevie Mitchell, Sheila Olem and Jasbinder Singh as well as Herndon High School Principal William Bates, and Herndon Police Chief Maggie DeBoard. “It was a great parade for a rainy day,” said councilmember Sheila Olem.
“It was another wonderful parade,” said Principal Bates. “It was great to celebrate all the wonderful things the Town of Herndon has to offer. The floats were great and the performers were awesome.” Videotaping the parade were volunteers with Herndon Community Television (HCTV), a non-profit, cable access PEG station based in Herndon.
“I am really excited to be a judge and be participating again,” said councilmember Stevie Mitchell. Mitchell is a 2003 alumnus of Herndon High, and he remembers when fellow students built floats at his parents’ house.
Trophies were presented to the first and second place winners in the Civic, Performing Arts, School, Show and Class Float categories. In addition, the judges selected the Richard F. Downer theme award and the Major Robert E. Church Best in Parade winners.
“It brings out the community, it is a unique Herndon event,” said Herndon councilmember Singh. After the parade, the Herndon High football team played their homecoming game against the Eagles from Alexandria’s Thomas A. Edison High School. Herndon Hornets lost the game, 17-0.
"Award Recipients in 2014 Herndon Parade"
First Place – Herndon Optimist Youth Sports
Second Place – Girl Scouts of the Nations Capital Service Units 51-9 and 51-11
-Performing Arts Group
First Place – Herndon High School Step Team
Second Place – St. Joseph’s Cheerleaders
First Place – Dranesville Elementary School
Second Place – Clearview Elementary School 6th Grade Class Float
First Place – Jim Moyer Circus Club
Second Place – Herndon Fortnightly Library
First Place – Herndon High class of 2016
Second Place – Herndon High class of 2018
-Richard F. Downer Theme Award – Herndon High class of 2015 float
-Major Robert E. Church Award – Best in Parade – Pride of Herndon, Herndon High School Marching Band