Wilson Homecoming Parade

Scenes from the annual Wilson homecoming parade Saturday downtown Florence.

FLORENCE, S.C. — The 2019 Wilson High School Homecoming Week was a success, according Wilson Alumni Association President Mark Bailey.

Bailey, along with president emeritus Bryant Moses, provided a report Monday on the 2019 homecoming to the Florence City Council at the council’s monthly meeting at the City Center.

Bailey started his presentation by providing an overview of the activities held during the week of Oct. 13-20. The theme, he said, of the 2019 homecoming was, “It’s all about those Tigers: heritage, pride, and class.”

Florence City Council

Wilson High School Alumni Association President Mark Bailey speaks Monday to the Florence City Council.

The festivities started on Sunday, Oct. 13, with a bowling tournament at the Southgate Bowling Center.

Bailey said the bowling tournament normally is done by class, but this year, because of sickness, the Brown family won the tournament.

“Our goal is to have the whole Southgate full of purple and gold, but right now we got a third of it, I think,” Bailey said. “This is our second year of doing it [the bowling tournament] at Southgate, so we’re well on our way to getting that full of purple and gold on the Sunday before homecoming.”

Wilson, like the Los Angeles Lakers and the LSU Tigers, has purple and gold as primary colors.

The next event was a golf tournament held on the morning of Friday, Oct. 18. The golf tournament had 22 golfers playing to raise funds for the alumni association.

Also that morning, a committee of people painted numbers on the street for the lineup of the parade on Saturday, Oct. 19.

Friday evening was the block party, which was held in the 200 block of South Dargan Street in front of the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center. The block party featured two bands: New Creations and Level 10.

“From there we went into our Friday night game,” Bailey said. “Which wasn’t a good game for us, but we still cheered our Tigers on.”

Wilson lost to Hartsville 55-13.

Saturday featured the nearly two-hour parade — classes from 1951 to 2019 participated — as well as TigerFest.

Bailey said the class of 1971 won the parade’s float competition.

Later, Councilman Glynn Willis added the parade had more than 100 floats in it.

Even the rain couldn’t stop people from attending the TigerFest, Bailey said.

There was also a concert at the Performing Arts Center on Saturday evening featuring Tru Soul.

Sunday morning was the annual hall of fame breakfast. Four people were inducted into the hall of fame. Also, a gospel concert was held Sunday evening at the Performing Arts Center.

“All that being said, we still had a wonderful time,” Bailey said. “We filled the city up again with all the purple and gold.”

Bailey thanked the city council for allowing him to present a recap of the week. He especially thanked Florence City Councilman George Jebaily for the invitation to speak.

Bailey also thanked the city council for its help with the homecoming. The city council voted in October to allocate approximately $56,000 to the alumni association for the homecoming festivities.

Bailey said the alumni association would like to use some of the funds to attract a bigger name for the concert.

He also added that Florence would be hosting a Wilson High School reunion next July.

Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela jokingly said he didn’t know what the city was going to do with a bigger crowd if Bailey’s plans to attract more people to the homecoming events were successful.

Willis, who rode a golf cart in the parade, congratulated Bailey on the events.

Councilwoman Pat Gibson-Hye Moore, who also participated in the parade, also offered her congratulations.

“I think it’s one of the best schools in the country,” she said.

Bailey, after Gibson-Hye Moore requested, said the alumni association has seven chapters.

Gibson-Hye Moore said her husband was recently in Philadelphia and saw a Wilson shirt.

Councilwoman Teresa Myers-Ervin also offered her congratulations. She said she attended West Florence, but her brothers and sisters attended Wilson. She said she had been told by a former teacher that anyone with family who attended Wilson was a member of the Tiger family.

“I always brag, and I tell everybody that Wilson is the greatest alumni in the United States,” she said.

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Government and Poltics Reporter

I cover the city of Florence, the county of Florence, the state legislative delegation of Florence County and surrounding areas, and the federal delegation representing the Pee Dee for the Morning News.

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