Coronado comes to Old Town Oct. 4
Despite surprise cost, students hope for state’s largest homecoming parade

       Until a few weeks ago, Nick Kadlec's main goal for the 39th annual Coronado High School Homecoming Parade through Old Colorado City Saturday morning, Oct. 4 was to make it the biggest ever - possibly the biggest of its kind in the state. Nick Kadlec
       That was when the Coronado student body president found out about a city regulation on barricades - previously unenforced at the Coronado event - which threated to cost the Student Council $4,000 it didn't have.
       Instead of the biggest parade, there was suddenly the possibility of no parade at all.
       Only this week was that wrinkle being ironed out, with the cost being halved (at least for this year) and the school agreeing to “find the money,” as Principal Susan Humphrey put it.
       The parade will go on - and may even have CHS grad/Olympic gold-medal winner Henry Cejudo, Kadlec said. Another honoree will be Charles Green, a Westside sculptor who has designed many area school sculptures, including the pirate at Pike and the cougar at Coronado. At halftime of the Homecoming football game (against Pueblo Centennial, starting at 2 p.m. at Gary Berry Stadium), Green will receive the award of “Westside Recipient.” If Cejudo can make it - he has reportedly been unreachable of late in Japan but previously indicated a willingness to come - he will be the parade grand marshal, speak at a school assembly and crown the Homecoming King at the game, Kadlec said.
       The parade will start at 9 a.m., led by the Coronado High band, and will proceed down Colorado Avenue from 28th Street to Bancroft Park. Close to 30 entries are expected, featuring floats by school clubs and sports teams. The one judged best will win a $150 monetary prize, to be shared between itself and a selected charity.
       There also will be Corvette convertibles bearing school royalty and VIPs, representation from nearly all of Coronado's feeder schools and the bands from West and Holmes middle schools. “We're trying to get as many people involved as we can,” said Kadlec, whose route to becoming a Coronado senior took him through Whittier Elementary and Holmes.
       The parade will be part of the school's annual Spirit Week, followed by the game and the Homecoming Dance that night.
       The barricade law “had kind of fallen through the cracks” for the Coronado parade, according to Police Sgt. Lonnie Spanswick, the city's special-events coordinator. It was only after the city received a few complaints after last year's parade - people saying the voluntarily placed barricades didn't provide enough warning about Colorado Avenue being closed - that the city decided it was time to make the event comply with the same safety rules as other parades, he explained. This includes the need to work with a company that specializes in barricades and has people who are trained in setting them out properly.
       Spanswick said police are looking for ways to reduce the parade costs to the school, including “bare-bones” police presence and a plan by which volunteers can hood and unhood parking meters for the event - a task that barricade specialists otherwise would be paid to do.
       That contractor, Midwest Barricades, is helping out too, donating half of its $4,000 fee this year, and will give a cost break again next year, though not as much, Kadlec said.
       Annual donations, which formerly kept Student Council's parade costs below $1,000 overall, have typically included the Corvettes (provided by the Colorado Springs Corvette Club) and most of the trucks used for club floats, Kadlec said.
       Humphrey said that in the coming year she will look for ways that the school can pay the parade's barricade costs permanently. She is proud of the Student Council's efforts over the years to organize and fund the event before it got so expensive - Kadlec was even working on issues this summer - and definitely does not want to end the tradition. “It's the last vestige of a small-town parade,” she said. “The community has been very supportive over the years.”
       As for Kadlec, he's still hoping to have the biggest homecoming parade in the state. Last year, Cherry Creek High School was reportedly first and Coronado second. Student Council is even promoting the event to other areas of the city. “We want to get the word out and have as much spirit as possible,” he said. “We want to get number one.”

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