October 31, 2014  

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Downtown Hattiesburg to Serve as Site of Centennial Homecoming Parade

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From left: Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, Southern Miss President Martha Saunders and Southern Miss Director of Athletics Richard Giannini stand in front of the historic Saenger Theatre in downtown Hattiesburg. (Photo by David Tisdale)

A University of Southern Mississippi tradition returns to downtown Hattiesburg when its homecoming parade runs through the historic heart of the city Saturday, Oct. 9 in conjunction with its Centennial Celebration and Fall Art Walk.

Southern Miss and city officials announced Tuesday morning in a press conference at Hattiesburg City Hall that the parade will begin at 10 a.m. that day along Main and Front Streets in downtown, and include the Pride of Mississippi Marching Band, the Dixie Darlings, floats and Southern Miss cheerleaders and athletes.

Prior to the 1980s, the parade was held downtown until it was rerouted to Hardy Street. Southern Miss President Martha Saunders, a Hattiesburg native, has fond memories of the event from her youth.

“I remember my grandfather bringing me out to the parade, and I thought it was one of the most glamorous events of my years as a little girl,” she said. “Having the parade downtown connects us with the community and reminds us how important our relationships are with our local communities.”

Hattiesburg Mayor and Southern Miss alumnus Johnny DuPree also recounted his memories of the parade being downtown from childhood, and looks forward to it and the Fall Art Walk. “For me, it’s back to the future, and a great way to celebrate the university’s centennial and all the exciting things we have going on downtown,” he said.

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles football team faces the East Carolina University Pirates later that day at M.M. Roberts Stadium, ‘The Rock,” at 6:30 p.m.

“We’re looking forward to a great day for both downtown and the campus on homecoming,” said Southern Miss Athletics Director Richard Giannini. “Hattiesburg has meant so much to the university and vice versa, and so it’s great to revive the tradition of having the parade downtown for this year.”

For more information about the university’s Centennial Homecoming, online visit www.usm/edu/homecoming or www.usm.edu/alumni and on the left, click on the “Homecoming Events” link; or call 601.266.5013. For information on tickets for the football game, call 601.266.5418 or online visit www.usm.edu/athletics and on the right under the heading “Athletic Resources” click the Tickets link.

For more information about the Fall Art Walk, call the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association at 601.583.4329 or online visit http://downtownhattiesburg.com/