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April 8th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

First Friday Parade In 1977

(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)

Today’s photos are from the 1977 First Friday Parade. The above picture shows a Clemson Fraternity moving up College Avenue on their way to the Outdoor Theatre for the Pep Rally. Check out the sign on Mr. Knickerbocker’s to the right side of the picture!

When this photo was taken, the First Friday Parade was only in its 3rd year. Started in 1974, the First Friday Parade has been held the Friday afternoon before the first home football game to celebrate the new football season.

The parade tradition began in September 1974 in response to a perceived lack of spirit and morale about the Clemson University football team's prospects. 1967 was the last time the Tigers had had a winning season and the first two games for 1974 were played away with Texas A&M crushing Clemson, 24-0, and N.C. State beating the Tigers, 31-10. The brothers of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity began rabble-rousing with Central Spirit to throw a parade to buck up Tiger spirits before the first home game with Georgia Tech, so on Friday, September 27, 1974 was born the "Wreck Tech" Parade. It wound from the old Winn-Dixie parking lot (now the Blue Heron location), up the hill on College Avenue through downtown Clemson and ended at the Amphitheatre where an enthusiastic pep rally was held. It had the desired effect. The following day the Tigers beat the Yellow Jackets, 21-17, and the team went onto an undefeated home record of 7-4 while Coach Red Parker was named ACC Coach of the Year.

In 1975, Clemson opened at home against the Tulane Green Waves and the First Friday Parade was named the "Dam the Wave" Parade. Eventually the habit of naming individual parades was dropped and the event became known universally as the First Friday Parade.

The route of the parade has been twice altered. It originally began at the bottom of the hill on College Avenue at the old Winn-Dixie parking lot and went to the Amphitheatre. After the parade was "removed" from downtown, post-1982, following a particularly debauched example of Clemson "Spirit", it began up the Old Greenville Highway near the east entrance to the campus and proceeded to the Amphitheatre. In recent years, the origin has been the same, but the pep rally has been located west to historic Riggs Field where the parade concludes for a women's soccer game.

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