Thousands pack Alabaster homecoming parade

Thompson cheerleaders give candy to spectators during Alabaster’s fourth-annual Alabaster homecoming parade on Sept. 14. (Reporter Photo/Keith McCoy)

Thompson cheerleaders give candy to spectators during Alabaster’s fourth-annual Alabaster homecoming parade on Sept. 14. (Reporter Photo/Keith McCoy)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Thousands of spectators lined the streets surrounding Larry Simmons Stadium – Many of them staying for a community pep rally in the stadium – during Alabaster’s fourth-annual homecoming parade on Sept. 14.

“What a great turnout. This seems to get bigger and better every year,” said Thompson High School Principal Wesley Hester.

This year’s parade featured a “Warrior Strong” theme, and honored the city’s police department. Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney, the parade grand marshal, and his wife, LeAnn, rode in the parade’s lead vehicle.

Following the theme, each entry in the parade displayed a blue ribbon honoring the men and women of the Alabaster Police Department, and many of the parade’s floats incorporated a police theme.

“I have worked in a lot of different places, and I’ve never worked with a better police department than I have here in Alabaster,” Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said during the pep rally, drawing applause from the crowd. “We honor them for the work they do every day.”

The parade began at Thompson Middle School. From TMS, the parade traveled down Warrior Drive in front of Thompson High School, turned right onto Thompson Road and then turned left on Alabama 119 before ending at Larry Simmons Stadium behind Thompson Intermediate School.

The parade and pep rally came two days before the Warriors take on the Oak Mountain Eagles in a Sept. 16 homecoming matchup, which will be Thompson’s first home game of the 2016 season.

The pep rally featured performances from the THS and TMS cheerleaders, the TMS dance team and majorettes, the Spirit Squad and the Marching Southern Sounds.

The following floats earned awards during the pep rally:

-Best Overall Float: Thompson Middle School

-Best THS class float: Seniors

-Best Use of Theme: Meadow View Elementary School

-Most Creative: Creek View Elementary School

-Most Spirit: Thompson Intermediate School

“I want you to know how much I appreciate you being here to make this a special event for our schools,” Vickers told the crowd.