Thousands of spectators were lined up along West University Avenue in Gainesville Friday to watch the annual homecoming parade.
Drum rolls and police sirens filled the air as different floats and marching bands made their way down the street.
Gainesville High School, Buchholz High School, and Eastside High School all sent their marching bands to participate in the parade. For the first time in years, all big three local high schools were taking part in the festivities.
Gainesville High has not participated in the parade for quite some time, making this a first time opportunity for local students in the marching band.
Alina Carleson, a member of the GHS marching band, was excited for the opportunity to perform on a big stage.
“You get really hyped and it’s fun because we play music, and it feels really good to have everyone else appreciate the music we make,” Carleson said.
Sara Creston, another GHS band member, shared Carleson’s excitement. Creston said she is not nervous about performing for the crowd of 75,000. She actually looks forward to the crowd’s reaction.
“The feedback is always the best part, especially when they’re all cheering for you,” Creston said.
Both Carleson and Creston come from Gator families and said they have never missed a homecoming parade. They feel the event unifies the town by bringing different people together.
“Homecoming is about being a part of the community and supporting the Gator Nation,” Carleson said.