GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Homecoming festivities at East Carolina University were in full gear over the weekend. Students took part in the annual parade Saturday morning to add to the excitement before the football game with Charlotte. 

It’s a holiday of sorts for the purple and gold as the homecoming parade festivities kicked off in downtown Greenville. The celebration of the Pirate community featured a float competition, alumni reunions and a celebration of tradition. 

Students at ECU demonstrated teamwork and unity in the days leading up to the event. Davina Hong, who is an assistant homecoming chair, said that’s what makes it all special. 

“There’s a lot that goes into it,” Hong said. “Skit, plan your float, canned food drive. It’s a good way to get involved with the community and we’ve been working on it for months and it’s a really big time commitment but it definitely is worth it in the end and it’s really fun we really have a good time doing it.” 

This year’s theme for homecoming was “Surf’s Up!” For students like Cooper Ashe, this is where the competition is at its peak. 

“Sometimes you gotta watch out for the sharks when you’re swimming in the ocean,” Ashe said. “There’s always something coming at you. While there might not be sharks right here, Zeta, Alpha, Sigma Phi, we’re coming at you just like sharks.” 

Homecoming is best known for being rich in tradition. Among the many traditions is the naming of Pirate Homecoming’s “grand marshal.” This year, Richard Twilley ’89 had the honor of holding such a prestigious position.  

“I was asked to be the grand marshall and what an honor it is especially as an alumnus,” Twilley said. “Growing up in Eastern Carolina, it’s just means everything to me.” 

The pride and passion of the ECU community is something the event brings to life every year. With the excitement from the parade, it made it easy to carry it over to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for the big game.