Homecoming a medley of happenings

Brandon Zeris, Copy Editor

Pitt-Johnstown’s Homecoming Weekend gave students multiple ways to celebrate.

The weekend kicked off with a carnival Friday and Saturday in the Biddle Hall parking lot. Rides included a Ferris wheel, a giant slide and a carousel.

At least one student, Cory Strittmatter, welcomed the carnival.

“The carnival is a good thing, it doesn’t get much more legit than that,” he said.

“You could go have a kegger in the woods, but this is a (relatively) dry campus, so you take what you can get.”

Sherri Rae, Director of Student Life, said that the carnival was better than a concert.

“A lot of people who are here for Homecoming are looking to visit with friends and socialize more than dedicate several hours to a concert in the Sports Center,” she said.

People who would rather have a concert may get their wish in the future.

“We may revisit the concert idea, especially if we could do a smaller, more casual setting, like a lawn show or tent, but we wanted to give the carnival rides one more try as well since we have a larger variety of rides coming this year that may have more appeal.”

Friday’s events concluded with a fireworks show choreographed to music provided by Zambelli Fireworks, which has been featured on the Discovery Channel show Mythbusters.

The Homecoming parade began at 11 a.m. Saturday where the theme, “Broadway,” was apparent.

With a perceived lack of student involvement in choosing the theme, Rae said students, faculty and staff were able to make suggestions about the theme.

“We took those suggestions this summer and did a survey via Facebook, for current students, and the LinkedIn alumni group to vote on the possible choices.”

She added, “We had 115 people respond to the survey, and it was a close call: the second choice was ‘superheroes,’ so we’ll add that second choice as an option next year again.”

Rae said a campus- wide vote, much like the one used to select Homecoming Queen, remains a possibility for the future.

The parade traveled from Richland Cinemas to Blackington Hall, where floats were on display.

The first place float award went to the American Society of Civil Engineers with their “South Pacific” theme.

Shortly after, Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar named Lauren Dziagwa, a senior civil engineering technology major, the 2011 Homecoming Queen.

She was sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers. ASCE girls have made winning Homecoming Queen a regular occurrence and Dziagwa wanted to continue the streak.

“It feels good. Our girls won the last two years, so I felt like it was my job to win,” she said.

Natalie Aikens, a senior biology major, sponsored by Pitt-Johnstown Cheerleaders, was named first runner-up.

Leah Sporio, a senior humanities major, sponsored by Delta Chi and the Black Action Society was named second runner-up.

Later, Dave Willey held a show in which he used laws of physics and humor to wow the crowd for an hour with his stunts.

Willey has showcased his talents on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno among other television shows.

His final stunt yielded a loud applause from the crowd. Willey, who laid on a bed of nails, had a smaller platform of nails resting on his stomach with a cinder block on top.

His assistant crushed the block with a sledgehammer, doing no harm to Willey.

Afterwards, the Pitt-Johnstown Zoo was on display in the Cambria Room. A leopard, scorpion and a king toad were shown, among other animals.

The weekend wrapped up with a birthday party for former Pitt-Johnstown Dean of Student Life, Lowell Shaffer.