Homecoming and Pumpkinfest Parades
Two of Ukiah’s unique and wonderful events are coming up and they remind me how lucky we all are to live in Ukiah.
Ukiah High School Homecoming and Ukiah’s Country Pumpkinfest are right around the corner. Without the hard work of countless volunteers who are committed to making Ukiah a better place, neither of these events would occur.
Our high school homecoming is truly special. In fact, I think Ukiah High does more to get everyone involved and participating in true school spirit than any other high school I have ever seen.
Monday through Friday, the high school conducts rallies, assemblies, skits, contests, a parade, a football game, and a dance. Students dress in some of the most creative ways you can imagine. Rather than trying to keep gang colors out of our school, it seems for the week of homecoming that purple and gold become our school’s and our community’s most important colors. I love the way each class competes through their citizenship, sportsmanship, and team efforts for the school’s most prestigious award: the school spirit bell.
It is only because of the hard work of high school administrators, teachers, staff members and student body representatives that all of the high school students can enjoy such positive, community-building activities. Go, Wildcats!
New Homecoming Route
Because of our limited police resources, we can no longer close down and control traffic on State Street for the homecoming parade. With uncontrolled traffic alongside homecoming floats, we–both the high school and police department–are concerned for the safety of the students riding the floats.
As a result, we have changed the parade route. To safely allow the homecoming parade to continue, this year’s parade will start at Ukiah High School at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, October 11, and travel on Low Gap Road to N. Bush Street, then south on N. Bush Street to Grove Avenue. The parade will head west on Grove Avenue to Todd Grove Park. Floats will circle the park and then return to the high school utilizing the same route. By avoiding State Street, we hope to keep everyone safe.
In addition to the new route, here are a few more safety points to consider for Friday’s homecoming parade.
During the parade, our school resource officer and school administrators will help control traffic near the parade route. If you’re driving near the parade, please pay attention! It’s easy to become distracted, but so important not to. The parade includes horses, semi-trucks, and vintage cars carrying many potential homecoming kings and queens. If you want to take pictures, cheer on a particular class, or just wave, please don’t try to drive at the same time.
If you have a teenager participating in the parade, encourage them to yell their hearts out with school pride, but please, no monkey business on the floats. We don’t want to see anyone fall off and get hurt.
Ukiah’s Country Pumpkinfest will be on Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20. A hometown parade is planned for Saturday morning. On both Saturday and Sunday, our downtown will host many fun, family-related activities including live music, a Scout-o’-Rama, a downtown carnival, and many unique vendors.
Again, it is only because of the hard work of countless volunteers, non-profits, service clubs, and others that Ukiah can enjoy such a unique downtown event.
For the Pumpkinfest parade on Saturday, October 19, here are a few safety points to consider.
The parade starts at the intersection of Low Gap Road and State Street and travels south on State Street through the downtown to Seminary Avenue. From 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning until about noon, State Street will be completely closed from Low Gap Road to the movie theater at Mill Street.
People who want to get across town are always frustrated during parades. If you need to get through town, it’s easiest to use the freeway or Dora Street to travel north and south. Either way, please plan a little extra time for the added congestion.
If you’re watching the Pumpkinfest parade, please help us with one thing: don’t let your kids run into the street to get candy. Each year, we worry that while watching the parade, a small child will get too close to a float or vehicle. Driving in a parade and dealing with distractions is challenging; a driver may not see a small child in the street.
If you’re participating in the parade, please don’t throw candy. The rules prohibit it – again, we don’t want small children running into the street. If you’d like to give out candy, instead designate someone to walk alongside your parade entry and hand the candy out.
I feel extremely lucky to be part of a community that has so many volunteers, non-profits, and service clubs committed to making Ukiah a better place. The high school’s homecoming events and our Pumpkinfest celebration are just two examples of our community’s special nature.
Teen Driving Safety Week
I mentioned this last week, but it’s worth a reminder: during the week of October 18-26, we are asking the Ukiah community to go online to www.celebratemydrive.com and register their safe driving commitments on behalf of Ukiah High School. The more commitments we get, the better our chances of winning up to $100,000 in grant funding for Ukiah High School and maybe even a concert with chart-topping music artist Kelly Clarkson.
The Ukiah High School Principal says that he’s likely to be able to divide the money among the student classes, school sports, and other organized school activities. We all know that our schools struggle to provide safe, after-school activities for students, and these grant funds would really help towards that purpose.
Celebrate My Drive is an opportunity for us to rally around our young drivers and encourage them to make safe driving choices every time they are behind the wheel. Automobile crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among teens and we need to change that. If we can reinforce habits among teen drivers like remembering to think, keeping two eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel, we will save lives together.
Please join us during the week of October 18-26 and make a daily commitment to safe driving at www.celebratemydrive.com.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have any suggestions or comments about how we can improve, please feel free to call me, complete our online survey, or leave a crime tip on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.