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Tradition wins out - Coronado parade to stay in Old Colorado City at least one more year

The Juniors float was particularly exuberant during the 2014 Coronado High Homecoming Parade along closed-off Colorado Avenue through Old Colorado City.
Westside Pioneer file photo
For at least one more year, Coronado High School will hold its colorful, annual Homecoming Parade in Old Colorado City.
       Principal Darin Smith revealed the decision in an interview with the Westside Pioneer. “I threw it out there” (to a meeting of the school's academic council) “and we came to the conclusion, we don't want to let it [the 35-year tradition] go,” Smith said.
       The key concern for school leaders had been rising costs as a result of increased city regulations. The bill reached an all-time high of $8,000 this year, which led Smith and others at Coronado to consider moving it to the school itself, where the cost-related requirements wouldn't apply.
       Smith said the money will be scrabbled together this year from previous school fundraisers, concessions and other non-instructional sources. “We've got 50 accounts from little things here and there, and student government is kicking in half its funds,” Smith said.
       However, he cautioned, such a strategy “is not sustainable. We can't do it again.”
       His intent is to form an alumni association that would help put together a “legitimate funding stream for the parade,” Smith said. “I have some contacts with alumni in the community who are aware of the situation, and I will talk to these people.”
       The school also plans to fundraise during this year's parade Saturday, Sept. 24. In recent years, staff and student volunteers have sold pancakes beforehand, and this year the school also wants to organize a “fun run,” possibly along the parade route, with entry fees helping defray event costs.
       In a Pioneer interview earlier in August, Smith had said he would try to get with Old Colorado City merchants to see how much the parade means to them.
In another shot from the 2014 Coronado Homecoming Parade, many of the several hundred participants and attendees stream into Bancroft Park for the event-concluding pep rally.
Westside Pioneer file photo
But he was unable to get on the agenda for this month's meeting of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group.
       Support did come from an unexpected quarter. After reading the Westside Pioneer article that was posted Aug. 4 (reporting that Coronado might not hold the parade in OCC this year), long-time Westside leader Dave Hughes, now 88, went to the Aug. 9 City Council meeting to speak during its Citizen Discussion period. Hughes argued that the potential loss of the Coronado parade was a sign of the city becoming overly bureaucratic, which is especially harmful to "community events."
       After Hughes finished speaking, Council President Merv Bennett referred the issue to the mayor's chief of staff. Later, the Westside Pioneer contacted the Mayor's Office for a comment, but as yet has gotten no reply.
       Started in 1981, the parade annually represents the school's most visible outreach to the Westside community, from which many of its students come. Lasting less than an hour, the event features marchers (many in costume), bands and/or hand-decorated floats (roughly 40 entries in all) from Coronado's clubs and sports teams, as well as all its feeder schools.
       Coming on the heels of the Coronado Homecoming Game the night before, the parade closes off Colorado Avenue between 30th and 24th streets and is concluded by a pep rally in Bancroft Park.
       Attendees are never counted, but those on hand, with the largest concentration between 25th Street and the park, easily number in the several hundreds.
       The starting time had been 9 a.m. for years, but was moved up to 10 a.m. last year, in hopes of showing Old Colorado City support by increasing the chances of parade-goers frequenting the historic district's businesses (which typically open around 10).
       For the Westside Pioneer article that was posted Aug. 4, which includes details on this year's parade costs, go to this link.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/11/16; Schools: Coronado High School)

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