The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Students show off state pride at Mock Con parade

Virginia’s first lady, Suzanne Youngkin, presented Puerto Rico, California and Louisiana with awards for best floats
Veronika Kolosova
The Massachusetts float recreated the Boston Tea Party.

The 28th Mock Convention kicked off with a parade down Main Street in Lexington on Feb. 9. People from all over the country stopped by to see the procession before the start of the convention.

Students in each delegation worked tirelessly on their floats. In the end, there were 56 floats in the parade, including all 50 states and six U.S. territories.

Hundreds of spectators, including students and locals, crowded the streets of Lexington to see the dozens of differently-colored floats drive by. Hundreds also joined the livestream of the parade.

“It’s one of the most visible aspects of Mock Convention and it’s also kind of like Washington and Lee’s version of a big game day,” said Mock Con Parade Chair Claire Richey, ’24.

Richey said the parade has been a year in the making, and has involved many moving parts, including Rockbridge locals who lent their trucks and trailers to be used for the floats and all of the security personnel who  helped the parade run smoothly.

“I’m feeling so extremely excited to be with all my friends on the float and show what we’ve been working on for weeks to the town,” Ohio delegate Kristina Ayers, ’25, said.

The floats captured the unique cultures of the states and territories. Many of the floats referenced famous sports teams, landmarks, celebrations, media and people from their respective delegations, and played popular songs from each state.

Members of the Mock Con leadership team stood on the Juniper Lounge balcony to judge the floats as they went by.

On the second day of the convention, Richey and Virginia First Lady Suzanne Youngkin presented awards to the best floats.

The Puerto Rico delegation took first place, followed by California and Louisiana. The U.S. Virgin Islands, Illinois, Guam and Texas were all shouted out as honorable mentions.

Margaret Alexander, ’24, said the Louisiana float, with its vibrant Mardi Gras theme, was her favorite.

The American Samoa float. (Veronika Kolosova)

Quick turnarounds during float building seemed to be a common trend between delegations as they had anywhere between a week and the night before to create their float.

Students gathered at Brewbaker Field with props and craft supplies to place the final touches on their floats in the hour before the parade.

“Building the float was so exciting, getting to be with everyone and meeting with my friends on all the different floats,” said Allison Hidalgo, ’25, from the Colorado delegation. “Creating my outfit was the best part.”

Many delegation members dressed up to match the theme of their float.

Students from Maine and Maryland showed off their states’ love of shellfish by dressing up in matching bright red lobster and crab costumes. Delegates from Pennsylvania came as characters from the NBC sitcom, The Office. Connecticut’s float even had people dressed up as famous TikTok influencers Charlie and Dixie D’Amelio.

Some floats tossed things out, like candy and card holders, to cheering parade goers. Other floats decided to get even more creative. Florida gave out frozen ice pops and Wisconsin threw tiny blocks of cheddar cheese into the crowd.

Guests came from all over the country to see the parade. Terry Romano made her way from New Jersey to not only support her daughter in the parade, but also to attend the convention.

“Where else can you get an experience like this?” she said. “I am really excited to see Candace Owens.”

David Keeling, ’73, returned to the university 50 years after he graduated to watch the parade.

“I thought today was one of the best,” he said. He said he especially enjoyed the U.S. Virgin Islands float because of its creativity.

The parade celebrated the hard work of all the delegations that worked to make Mock Con possible.

“I thought it was so wholesome. Everyone did such a great job. The creativity that every single state has something unique that they can highlight was so cool,” Erin Brennan, ’25, said.

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Veronika Kolosova, A&L Editor

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