Enjoying homecoming festivities
I really enjoy the community spirit of homecoming week, which attracts droves of alumni and also gives the home fans a little extra to look forward to on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons.
For the past few weeks we have been busy running special pages highlighting the homecoming courts of the local high schools, which each have a different way of selecting and presenting their student representatives.
Vina led off homecoming season in late September with the crowning of Amber Evans, while Russellville and Tharptown each celebrated their homecomings in early October. It was a historic event for the Wildcats as they put together their first football homecoming, complete with a convertible parade, pep rally and senior court featuring homecoming queen Kylee Chaffin.
The Golden Tigers, the only team in Franklin County to avoid the homecoming jinx so far this season, not only took care of business against nemesis Muscle Shoals but also had a first-time event as Stacy Garner and Anne Kathryn Allen shared the role of homecoming queen thanks to a tie vote.
Last Friday's halftime ceremony at Phil Campbell's Parrish Stadium was emotional for the Bobcats faithful as the student body selected a beaming Shelby Grissom for homecoming queen. Grissom, who was a varsity cheerleader for three years, has been battling a serious illness but stood proudly at the 50-yard line with the assistance of her father and escort.
Red Bay caps the football homecoming season tonight with special guest marshals John Jolly, a former Franklin County district attorney and circuit judge, and his wife, Jeanette, a former educator, leading the downtown parade. Belgreen, the only Franklin County school to still hold high school homecoming festivities during basketball season, will celebrate its homecoming midway through the season.
Red Bay has its own special tradition as each senior court representative is chosen prior to homecoming week and bestowed a title. Nealea McKinney is this year's homecoming queen, with Amber Lofton as football queen and Gina Deaton as homecoming princess.
This Saturday is also homecoming for my alma mater, the University of North Alabama, as the Lions host defending national champion Valdosta State. Part of UNA's charm is its traditions, and homecoming week is no exception with activities that include Step Show, window painting, a downtown parade with student and alumni floats, tennis and golf tournaments and a ceremony at Braly Stadium that recognizes outstanding alumni and unveils the school's homecoming king and queen.
I'm looking forward to a great football game tomorrow evening, and I would also like to congratulate incoming Russellville Mayor and retired U.S. Army National Guard Gen. Troy Oliver, who will be presented the UNA Military Service Alumni Award.