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University of Colorado students are stepping up their homecoming floats this year after CU moved the parade from Pearl Street back to the student-centric University Hill.

Last year the parade was moved downtown, in conjunction with the Pearl Street Stampede pre-game rally, but the pedestrian mall does not allow motorized vehicles, limiting participants' float concepts.

Evan Williams, president of the student alumni organization The Herd, said the group is taking advantage of the changes.

"We're using a flatbed truck to support our float," Williams said. "We're able to create a cool 3-D piece that depicts a race between some Buffaloes."

The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and end near CU's Farrand Field.

Brianna Majewski, CU's director of homecoming, said the location change has already spurred more student interest with 23 groups now signed up to participate in the parade, up from 19 last year.

Majewski said she's hoping the early hour of the parade won't deter students' attendance, as the football game against Stanford University starts at noon.


"We had to do it early enough so that everyone had enough time to get to the game," Majewski said. "I think it could be an issue for some students, but I'm hoping they'll get up early just this once."

This year's homecoming theme is "Go for the Gold," an idea that played on the Olympic year, as well as incorporating a school color.

Williams said the theme focuses on a Greek culture, inspired by the country where the Olympics originated.

The Herd has placed in the top three best floats for the past 12 years, Williams said, but an adjustment to the judging could make it more difficult for the group to continue the winning streak. The three categories -- residence halls, student groups and Greeks -- will have the top float from each group garner a best-of award, Majewski said.

CU freshman Jillian Goodman is leading the Engineering Quadrangle residents float efforts and said the team will be taking home the prize for best residence hall float.

"We have the best idea and we're executing it well so I'm not worried," Goodman said. "We can win this."

Goodman said the team is not using vehicles for the float, which is mostly man-powered.

"Engineers built it, so of course it's awesome," Goodman said.

The team of about 20 students didn't have trouble settling on a "Lord of the Rings" theme, complete with Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, elves and other recognizable characters from the movies, Goodman said.