By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
A circus atmosphere was prevalent as clowns, jugglers and circus-themed floats participated in the Eastern New Mexico University homecoming parade Saturday in Portales.
Floats were festooned with balloons and streamers in colors of red, yellow and blue. Spectators lined the street and children picked up candy thrown from the various floats.
“It was wonderful.” said Janice Cowen, ENMU alumni affairs director. “The floats were exceptional this year.”
Moving back to the area recently, ENMU alumnus Jose A. Griego enjoyed the parade for the first time in several years. A 1968 graduate, Griego enjoyed seeing the parade and watching the children’s excitement, he said. After the parade, he said he would be attending the alumni luncheon and Saturday night’s football game.
“It’s good to be back in Portales,” said Griego. “This parade is like Eastern — small, quiet, peaceful and joyful.”
The festive atmosphere continued at the Campus Union Building as alumni, students, staff and community members gathered to eat at the buffet set up in the dining hall.
Alumni Pat and Neta Gant attended ENMU homecoming to accept an award on behalf of Pat’s brother Charlie, who was unable to attend because of health reasons.
Charlie Gant was a starting football player for four years, when ENMU was still known as Eastern New Mexico College, during the late 1940s, said Pat Gant. “Wildhorse Charlie,” as he was known, played right halfback. He was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Honors Saturday.
“He (Charlie) was very deserving for this honor,” Pat Gant said.
Also returning for the homecoming festivities were alumni Ron and Echo Griffith of Carlsbad. The Griffiths received master’s degrees from ENMU in 1963. The couple returned this year to visit their granddaughter who is an ENMU freshman. The Griffiths said their granddaughter is one of many family members who have attended ENMU.
The Griffiths also traveled to Portales to participate in the Alumni Choir Concert held Friday. Ron Griffith was the opera director at ENMU from 1969-1973.
“We are impressed with the campus and its growth,” said Ron Griffith.
“It’s been neat to come back and see the changes,” said Echo Griffith.