Homecoming goes ‘downtown’For the past few years, Red Wing High School alumni haven’t been especially involved in the school’s annual fall homecoming celebrations.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
For the past few years, Red Wing High School alumni haven’t been especially involved in the school’s annual fall homecoming celebrations.
“They come to the game,” student council adviser Shelley Orr said. “But there isn’t anything for them to do” the rest of the week.
Usually, events — such as school dress up days and the homecoming dance — are really only geared toward students. But this year, the student council is working to help change that.
“We tried to find a way to incorporate more of the community so it’s not just the high school,” Orr said.
The solution: partnering with Red Wing Downtown Main Street to get downtown businesses and their customers involved.
“We’d really love to integrate the homecoming activities into downtown a little,” said DTMS program coordinator Tracy Hardyman.
This year, about a dozen downtown businesses will serve as venues for various homecoming activities, Hardyman said. Events include store window paintings done by students and a photo opportunity with the Winger bird mascot and senior sports players at Riverbend Co-op from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 11.
One of the biggest activities is a “scavenger hunt,” Hardyman said. Photos of senior football players and cheerleaders will be placed in store windows. Using a ballot that will be printed in the R-E Oct. 6, students and community members will match up the senior’s photo with the downtown business where they found it.
Hardyman said that so far business owners are excited about the prospect of having more young people on the downtown sidewalks.
“I think they would love to see more youth downtown,” she said, adding that high school students generally aren’t customers.
“I don’t really think that they go in and out of the shops,” Hardyman said. “I think we need to teach them how important it is to shop local.”
But it’s not just getting students downtown. On Wednesday Oct. 10, downtown businesses will travel to the high school to help put on Wednesday Night of Fun, an activity that includes relays, food and games at the football field.
Orr said the Wednesday night event was very popular in past years, but has since lost momentum.
“We tried it a couple years ago, but kids just didn’t come,” she said.
But now, with the help of the local businesses, both Hardyman and Orr hope that all the homecoming events will gain popularity.
“We’ll just do little steps at a time and try to… make it more of a community event,” Hardyman said.
“Hopefully alumni will be able to be more involved,” Orr added.