PERU - Organizers of Peru Central School's homecoming weekend are hoping the annual event will be bigger and better than ever.
This year, the committee of students and
faculty behind the event have added a bonfire and 5K run to the weekend's festivities as a means of drawing in more people from the community.
"We're trying to draw as many people as possible," said Ernie Rock, a member of the high school's junior class and student council president.
"We want to make homecoming a more community-wide event," added Linzee Wright, a sophomore and student council representative
Each year, homecoming weekend has centered around the high school's varsity football game, homecoming dance and downtown parade. However, this year, organizers wanted to take a more expanded focus.
"We've wanted to do more to get people involved," said sophomore class advisor Beth Ann Lozier, "but the problem is we start school in the second week of September and then, within five weeks, we have homecoming. So, it's a lot of planning at once, but the kids have been great."
The schedule has been meticulously planned out, starting with the community bonfire to the right of the varsity football field Friday, Oct. 15, beginning at 8:15 p.m. The bonfire, which will be overseen by the Peru Volunteer Fire Department, will include entertainment by the high school band and cheerleaders. Admission will be free and snacks will be sold to benefit the high school student council.
"It'll be a great way to gather with friends the night before homecoming and have a great time," said Rock.
The following morning, Saturday, Oct. 16, the school spirit continues with the 5K run, said Wright. Registration will take place at the Peru Intermediate School cafeteria "bright and early" at 8 a.m., with the race to follow at 9 a.m. The run will follow the same route as the Peru Lions Club Turkey Trot, which starts at the intermediate school, travels north on Pleasant Street to Mannix Road and loops back to the school by Old Town Road and River Road.
That event is one in which Wright hopes more than just the Peru community participates, she said.
"We're hoping other schools come, too," said Wright, adding schools from districts across the county have been invited.
Prizes will be awarded for specific age groups, added Wright, and the $10 registration fee will benefit the high school student council and class of 2013.
The high school's annual homecoming parade will follow at 12:30 p.m., leaving the intermediate school parking lot and heading east on Pleasant Street to Main Street. The highly-anticipated event will include floats from each of the four high school classes and include participants from the school's student council and parent-teacher association, said Lozier.
"The theme of this year's parade will be music genres, so each class has chosen a genre and is building a float to represent that," she explained. "It's kind of a competition."
The float building is only a part of the competition that will be seen next week as part of the school's Spirit Week, which will include window painting in the high school cafeteria by the students.
"Spirit Week is the best week of school. It's the craziest, but it's the best," said Wright. "Everybody's excited." Everything will lead up to the varsity football team's home game against Plattsburgh High School that Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and homecoming dance at 7 p.m. But, bringing the bonfire and 5K into the mix only adds to the excitement, said Wright.
"I think it's going to be awesome," said Wright. "It's going to be well worth the time we're putting into it."
Lozier said next weekend could be the start of a new tradition for the community.
"We'd like these to become annual events if they're a hit this year," said Lozier.