Screams of delight ring out across the park as the fire lights the field. Smiles are seen glowing on every face. Each year, the Woodland Park Panthers celebrate Homecoming with various events throughout the week. This tradition has lived on for years. This year, on October 10, students gathered to celebrate homecoming with the yearly bonfire. Homecoming Week is always a week to look forward to. It brings students together to celebrate school spirit. What better way is there to truly bring everyone together than at a bonfire?
The fire takes place at Gateway Elementary, following the Homecoming parade, at approximately 7:30 p.m. This is where all the students gather to hangout, listen to music, and dance. Have you ever considered the amount of work that goes into making this an exciting event for the town? The whole experience is organized by Woodland Park High School Student Council.
Student Council President Ashley Hatfield says that, “A lot of work goes into it.” She goes on to explain that they need fire permits, building permits, permission to use the elementary grounds, help from teachers and staff, and the list goes on. Student Council presidents are at Gateway’s playground after the final bell rings to begin building the woodpile. They must arrange to find a trailer and get the music and sound system all set up, and they also need to obtain permission and help from the fire chief, who helps set the whole thing ablaze. Lumber is donated by Casey’s Lumber to be burned, along with memorabilia of the rival team.
A tough job facing the Student Council students is the cleanup afterwards. They must pick up all the trash their peers left behind, and, of course, they have to clean up the charred woodpile the following morning. It is hard work, but Woodland Park High School Student Council manages to pull it off and the student body is sure to be grateful.
Upon entering the scene of the bonfire, attendees are greeted with pep songs played by “The Pride of The Park” marching band. Hearing the band is a great way to kick off the night. The music can be heard throughout the town, and the flames can be seen glowing a great distance away. More than half of the student body attends, along with many members of the community.
Tenth grader Janelle Hale says, “The bonfire made Gateway look like it was on fire from the high school and it was pretty cool.”
Though we have the football game, dance, and parade, Woodland Park Homecoming would not be the same without our yearly bonfire.