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      MU Homecoming parade draws thousands

      University of Missouri's annual Homecoming celebration got off to a loud, enthusiastic start as crowds flocked to campus to watch Saturday's parade.

      The 2013 parade featured over 160 floats, many of which were designed by organizations on campus. Local firefighters, law enforcement, and rescuers also marched in the parade in addition to dozens of marching bands, cheerleading squads, fraternities and sororities.

      "We put hours of work into this," said Forrest Hall, a sophomore at MU. "Homecoming in general is not just for MU, it's for the community."

      University of Missouri's homecoming celebration is famous for being the first and largest of its kind in the country, and has come to define the MU spirit.

      "There's just so much jubilation, high spirit." Said alumnus Ron Bloom. "People feel good about themselves, the college, the country. It's good,"

      After Saturday's parade, alumni got a chance to connect with each other at the Romp, Chomp and Stomp Centennial Tailgate. Bloom said he thinks getting a chance to see old classmates is one of the most important parts of homecoming.

      "I owe them a lot," Bloom said. "It's a comelling event when you graduate from a school like Missouri. I went on to work for Xerox for 35 years. Without the knowledge and the skills I learned here, well... I owe them a lot."

      The parade is a big draw for people in mid-Missouri, even if they did not attend MU. Teri Mason said even though she never attended, homecoming makes her feel like a member of the MU family. "It just brings everybody together where you live. You don't have to be from there, it just brings everyone together. It's like a big family," Mason said.