Spectators cheer on performances during ASU’s homecoming parade Saturday on Pine Avenue in downtown Albany.
ALBANY -- All of Albany seemed to unite as a family for the Albany State University Homecoming Parade Saturday morning along Pine Avenue.
Thousands of people lined the streets to watch the floats, the dancing clubs and listen to the marching band music despite the chilly weather.
Walter Lewis comes from Columbus every year to see his family and watch the parade. He sat with his mother Dennie Cross and several nieces and nephews just west of Jefferson Street on the parade route.
"It is a tradition in our family to come to this parade. My mother used to bring me when I was a kid -- longer than 20 years we been coming to the parade," Lewis said. "We see the parade and get together over the weekend as a family and I see old friends, too."
Parading down Pine Avenue, the crowd saw a host of marching bands starting with the Marine Corps band from the Marine Corps Logistic Base-Albany.
"We decided to do some New Orleans Dixieland songs this year," said Marine Staff Sgt. Terri Kopetzki, the band leader. "We wanted to liven things up. We like to come out to support community activities. The Marine base and the city support each other."
One retired Marine, Jeffrey Wilson, fell in behind the Marine band with Pack 8 Cub Scouts from Institutional First Baptist Church.
Somehow Wilson didn't sound like a drill sergeant as he told his young charges to stand shoulder to shoulder. He got the job done with a kind, cajoling voice.
"OK everybody let's go," Wilson said, "shoulder to shoulder ... march."
Supporting their relatives and other people in the parade brought many people out to line the street. Rose Hall, a third-grade teacher at Jackson Heights Elementary came out to support her school's pep squad and the Boys to Men group as they marched.
"I'm also an ASU graduate. I'm getting my masters at ASU so I'm here for ASU too," Hall said. "I really love these parades. They are something positive in our community."
It seemed that no matter whom one talked to they had a family member in the parade. Jayvin Range all of 1 year old, came out with his father Corey and cousin Cardriana Dawson to applaud his sister, 5-year-old Harmonie Range, as she paraded with her classmates from Alice Coachman Elementary School.
Schooled in parade duty from the Albany Christmas Parade, Yvette Miller, a new member of the Albany State University Police Department was at her first ASU Homecoming Parade.
"I love working at the Christmas Parade," Miller said before the start of Homecoming festivities. "I'm excited and honored to work the ASU parade. It's looking good."