“We will be doing it next year,” MFISD Superintendent Dr. Chris Allen said.
The tradition of a downtown homecoming parade was halted in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2021, and again this year, the district decided to hold a homecoming tailgate on school property instead of a parade, citing difficulties meeting the city of Marble Falls’ various deadlines and hefty permit costs. The city had changed some of its procedures for special events during the pandemic.
“I’m just not sure, in the interim, that people who normally plan the event were completely aware of what all those changes entailed,” Allen said. “(Organizers) were caught a little bit off guard.”
The biggest change in the new procedures was the increase of lead time when planning events on city property. With the change, organizers were expected to meet city-mandated deadlines up to six months in advance of the actual parade.
“You have to have these requests in on certain timelines,” Allen said. “We got behind on that.”
Since homecoming isn’t something that happens on the same day each year and not normally planned months in advance, predicting when the parade should be held was difficult for district officials and homecoming organizers.
Another hurdle cited by organizers is the overall cost of hosting a parade in the city.
The process begins with a $50 application fee. The city then charges $2,000 to close a city street for a parade. (Additional, undisclosed fees associated with special events vary with the nature of the event.)
Allen is hopeful some of those fees will be waived through agreements with the city.
“I’ve been in discussion with city leadership, and we’ve been talking about some agreements that would allow the district to formalize a partnership with the city that will make a lot of these fees go away,” he said.
In years past, Allen has taken a step back in the planning of the homecoming celebration, relying on other district officials and organizers.
“I don’t normally have a heavy hand in this,” he said. “I’m going to be much more involved next year.”
As part of the district’s plan to bring back the parade, Allen will form a committee consisting of district leaders and athletics organizers to help plan next year’s fall event by March 2023. He believes this will help ensure the district meets any deadlines given by the city.
“We’re going to be way ahead of the timeline,” Allen said.
Multiple city officials were contacted for this story. None responded by the time of publication.