Get ready – VBHS Homecoming Parade set for next Thursday


Homecoming season is underway in Indian River County. Next Thursday at 5 p.m., the community is invited to celebrate Vero Beach High School’s homecoming parade that will be routed through downtown.

“The parade will be a continuation of the tradition that binds Vero Beach High School alumni and residents together by fostering a sense of belonging and community,” Assistant Principal Vanessa Gonzalez said.

Indian River School Board Chair Dr. Peggy Jones will be the parade’s Grand Marshal. Jones, a longtime Vero Beach resident, said the opportunity to lead the parade is a great honor.

I had the biggest smile on my face when (Principal Shawn) O’Keefe asked me,” Jones said. “I participated in the Sebastian River High School Homecoming Parade (on Tuesday) and the spirit there was just so much fun. I know it will be the same in the Vero Beach Homecoming Parade. Both of our high schools work hard to make these events special.”

Who’s in the parade?

The cold front coming to Vero Beach early next week will fade away before the start of the homecoming parade. Thursday was expected to have a high temperature in the lower 80s, which will dip to the lower 70s at night, said Cassie Leahy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The parade will feature the Fighting Indians Band, the football team, homecoming court, JROTC, color guard, student government association and other high school clubs.

Indian River County Fire Rescue will be rolling down the street in fire trucks and ambulances. The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office will showcase their decorated vehicles for breast cancer awareness, the Teen Driver Challenge, autism awareness and PTSD.

“I am so excited the homecoming parade is making its way back to the streets of Vero Beach. As an alumni, I have many memories of the parade and bonfire,” Fighting Indians Football Boosters President Angela Banzhaf said. “I am happy our players have the chance to make some of those same memories with their teammates and the community.”

A powder puff game will be held following the parade at the Citrus Bowl Stadium. The Fighting Indians football team will face off against the Martin County Tigers football team at 7 p.m. Friday Oct. 20.

The Fighting Indians football team – which was featured on the Today Show last October – has a 6-1 record so far this season. The team has four games left in the regular season and hope to make a run in the playoffs, Banzhaf said.

Banzhaf said the football team has made the playoffs for the past 18 years and last won the championship game back in 1981.

Jones a life-long learner focused on educating youth

The homecoming event will be Jones’ first time as Grand Marshal. The long-time educator started teaching in Florida in 1980 at Vero Beach Junior High School – now called the Freshman Learning Center – and then became the Dean at Vero Beach High School.

Jones also served as assistant principal at Vero Beach Junior High School, principal at Gifford Middle School and Sebastian River High School, associate executive director for the Florida High School Athletic Association, principal consultant and executive director for secondary schools.

The retired educator was a panel chair for the education grants distributed by United Way of Indian River County. Jones also serves on a professional development committee with The Learning Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to having 90 percent of students reading at grade level by third grade.

She continues to be active in the educational needs of students in Indian River County,” Vero Beach High School officials said. “Overall, she has dedicated 37 years of her life to education, and an additional five years at the Florida High School Athletic Association. She is a life-long learner who continues to be passionate about the education of all students in Indian River County.”

Jones, who said she has strong roots in south and north parts of the county, believes the homecoming events serve as a rite of passage for students.

“These are times I hope our students remember as these rites of passage are special, and one day you will look back and remember the fun you had,” said Jones, who has served on the school board since 2020. “The community spirit here in Indian River County is truly still that small town effect. I love that the community supports our public schools and the traditions we strive to always make special for our students, parents, and all who live here in Indian River County.”

VBHS – Homecoming Community Activities 

Thursday, October 19th, 2023

  •  5 p.m. Homecoming Parade 
  • 6 p.m. Powder Puff Game at the Citrus Bowl 

Friday, October 20th, 2023

  • 7 p.m. Vero Beach High School vs Martin County High School 

Ticket Price: $8

Buy your tickets at:

Parade Route:

The parade will begin at Vero Beach High School in the Performing Arts Center parking lot. The route will travel right onto 16th Street, left up 14th Court past the Citrus Bowl Stadium, right onto 17th Street, left onto 14th Avenue, left onto 19th Street and then left onto 17th Avenue back to the school.  

Related Articles

Comments are closed.