WEBB CITY, Mo. — A wave of Cardinal pride will permeate the streets of downtown Webb City this week as student groups and the Webb City Area Chamber of Commerce gear up for the annual Paint the Town Red Parade and Community Bonfire.

In celebration of homecoming week, the community will be having its Paint the Town Red Parade event beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday followed by a community bonfire at the field near the middle school. The Webb City varsity football team will be competing against Willard at 7 p.m. on Friday.

The parade route starts at the corner of First and Main streets and leads north to Stadium Drive. The event also includes music, games, activities, words from the sports teams and student groups, as well as food trucks.

Gwen Allen, executive director of the Webb City Area Chamber of Commerce, said the event has grown every year since they resurrected it about four years ago. Businesses, school groups and other community members will showcase their best floats, and Allen said they already have 56 entries, as of Monday morning.

“We had about 45 entries last year, and it was pretty big last year, so it’s even grown bigger this year,” she said. “They follow the homecoming theme, and they’ve really gotten into it the past couple years and built some really cool floats. Last year, Eclipse Salon built a huge hair dryer and flat iron and had ‘Blow Away the (Republic) Tigers.’ Another place built a big pirate ship. It was pretty cool.”

Flames will be leaping for the community bonfire once the parade wraps up, and there will also be music, food trucks, bounce houses, inflatables and games. The Webb City High School band will perform the fight song alongside the cheer and dance teams.

“A couple of youth groups will also be doing their halftime performances,” said Allen. “Then, we have a DJ.”

Allen said the student groups that they work with on the event get very excited for homecoming and shares that enthusiasm with other students.

“We’ve even gotten more school groups involved this year,” she said. “This will be our fifth year, and it had first started out as an idea. I had some relatives in high school and asked them what they do for homecoming and they said nothing anymore. When I was in high school, you had big dances and you dressed up. We went to a chamber conference and we heard how other towns celebrate homecoming.”

News reporter

Kimberly Barker is a news reporter for The Globe who covers Northeast Oklahoma, Southeast Kansas, as well as Carl Junction and Webb City.

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