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Monday, June 17, 2024

Student groups shell out money for intricate floats

With 70 floats entered in UF's Homecoming parade, crowds can expect to see live music, local celebrities and colossal robots rolling down University Avenue today.

Local businesses, fraternities, sororities and student organizations spent weeks designing and building the floats.

Max Weiss, UF's Homecoming parade director, said both the Benton Engineering Council and UF Surf Club have a history of making great floats.

Bentley Zephirin, a UF civil engineering junior, is the Homecoming director for the Benton Engineering Council, which helps coordinate laws and standards among engineering organizations on campus.

Last year, Zephirin was the designer for the council's "Back to the Future" float. It featured the time-traveling DeLorean car crashing into a 10-foot-tall model of UF's Century Tower.

The scene included the characters Marty McFly, Doc Brown and Mr. Two Bits.

Like most floats, the council's was primarily made of wood, cardboard and chicken wire, but it featured two smoke machines to create the effect of the car's engines, Zephirin said.

The cost was ,1,100, which is about the same expected cost for this year's float, he said.

Todd Kinsey, UF Surf Club president, said his group's float is not about elaborate designs but about getting the crowd excited and having fun.

Last year's float featured the local reggae band "Juice" as its main attraction, said Kinsey, a UF telecommunication senior.

Along with the band, more than 40 people packed onto the truck bed, turning the float into a traveling party.

For fraternities and sororities, the Homecoming parade represents the culmination of a week filled with social events boosting school spirit, said Brian Engel, Homecoming float chairman for the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity.

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Twelve fraternities and sororities have paired up and entered six floats into today's parade, he said.

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