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Eating up school pride

Decorations on floats were plenty and presentations diverse at UCI’s inaugural homecoming celebration.

February 26, 2008|By Alan Blank

It was supposed to be a parade of golf carts to celebrate UCI homecoming, but perhaps the biggest attraction at the pageant wasn’t on wheels. They got around on their feet and their, well, hands, too.

Still, B-Boys Anonymous riled up the crowd with some break dancing Monday afternoon.

“Today you’re going to see some breakin’ and some rappin’ and some breakin’ and some scratchin’ and some breakin’ and some poppin’ and some breakin’ and some lockin’,” said the B-Boys emcee before starting the group’s hip-hop soundtrack.

Student groups as diverse as the campus itself decorated floats for display Monday at UCI’s inaugural Peter’s Parade Cart Spectacular to celebrate homecoming.

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Each organization that participated was given a golf cart to decorate at 5 p.m. Sunday, and the final products were unveiled Monday morning for preliminary judging. Then the floats made the drive from Langson Library to the Student Center where a panel of judges joined the UCI Marching Band and emcee Robert Espiritu who introduced each float.

Co-President of UCI’s club On Track and Co-Fundraising Chairwoman Sepi Aria walked alongside their organization’s float, decorated with a large cardboard anteater snout on the front and a stuffed, wire-mold anteater riding on top along with cutouts of children. On Track is a group of students who dedicate time in the community to mentor children of prisoners to pursue higher education.

“The children that we mentor helped out a lot with the float yesterday,” Aria said. “We met at noon and they colored the plaques with their names on them.”

Immediately in front of the On Track float, the Capoeira Cultural Club drove its colorfully-decorated cart celebrating Brazilian dance, music and martial arts. Dressed with multi-colored feathers and adorned by the foam head of a lady anteater complete with eyelashes and a feather crown, the float was one of the liveliest in the parade.

Dancers demonstrated the art of Capoeira alongside the cart while the club’s leader, Domingos Begalli, played music on the Brimbau, a traditional Brazilian instrument that looks like a bow with a gourd attached and is played using only a crude wooden stick and a smooth river rock.

The school’s mascot, Peter the Anteater, ran up and down the line of golf carts jumping and dancing.

Awards were given in two categories, Greek and non-Greek, and they were decided by a panel of judges including administrators, students and even Chancellor Michael Drake.

The best of the Greek floats was given to Alpha-Phi. The women’s fraternity presented a float that looked a bit like a princess with a conic, pink veil on the top, embellished with foam models of sports equipment.

The best non-Greek float was designed by the Material Science Club, MatSci, which topped its cart with an atomic model of a crystal lattice.

Awards for best overall float and most spirited group won’t be announced until halftime at UCI’s opening basketball game at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Bren Events Center.


ALAN BLANK may be reached at (714) 966-4623 or at alan.blank@latimes.com.

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