OSKALOOSA — Fifty years ago, the Oskaloosa High School senior class rode in the homecoming parade on a great white whale.

The whale will float through the streets of Oskaloosa once again, as members of the class of 1969 have been working on a replica of their float.

Deanna Hornick and the other volunteers – who have been prepping for homecoming and their reunion for months – don’t remember why they made a whale float back in 1969.

“You have to remember,” one volunteer said, “this was 50 years ago.”

Hornick said during one of the ladies’ get togethers that are held every few months, the idea of doing a float for homecoming came up.

“So then we started talking about it with my committee,” she said. “Everybody thought that was a fantastic idea. It would be something that no one else has done and it would be a great way to celebrate our 50th class reunion. There are a lot of people coming back that want to ride on the float.

Oskaloosa High School will be facing the Grinnell Tigers on Friday, Sept. 27, the same foe the class of 1969 played for their homecoming football game.

It’s a classic type float: constructed with wood supports and a chicken wire frame and stuffed with napkins.

Denny Kirby said it’s old school, the way they used to be made.

“They’re not made like this anymore,” he said. “All of them were like this.”

There had been around 15-20 people working on the float by early August, Hornick said.

“If we didn’t have these guys, we probably wouldn’t have been able to do it,” she said. They did a fantastic job putting this together. Us girls, all we’re doing is stuffing napkins.”

Hornick said the float will be ready not only for homecoming, but for the class’s 50th reunion this weekend.

“We also will have it uptown on Saturday the week before,” she said, “so that people from out of state will be able to enjoy it and get their pictures taken with it.”

The float-builders joked about taking it out for a joyride during the reunion – taking it a very slow pace so there would not be a flurry of napkins trailing after the whale.

There was a lot of reminiscing going on while the float was coming together. It’s been a lot of work, the volunteers said – and a lot of fun.

“We’ve had an enormous amount of fun making it,” Hornick said. “It’s really been a great project. It’s brought a lot of us members together.”

Kirby agreed.

“There’s already been a lot of togetherness with this,” he said. “We’ve enjoyed it.”

Hornick said a lot of work has gone into the float and in planning the reunion.

“I’m pretty proud of everybody because they’ve really worked hard,” she said. “We’ve had a good group of people planning and a good group of people working on it and planning the reunion. We’ve had a lot of fun. And a lot of work. It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.”

The Oskaloosa High School homecoming parade will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26. Following the parade, the homecoming coronation will be at the community stadium. Friday night’s football kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.

Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at aholland@oskyherald.com and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.

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