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A first look at First Friday

From ‘Wreck the Tech’ to First Friday: a history of the iconic Clemson Tradition
Matt Mynes
From Wreck the Tech to Damn the Wave, First Friday is one the most beloved Clemson tradition.

Although the First Friday Parade is one of the most beloved Clemson traditions, never failing to rally crowds of passionate students, this was not always the case. 

Clemson’s mascots will return to the First Friday parade on Sept. 8. (Katie Bradham)

The parade originated due to low turnout at football games. In 1974, in the shadow of the imminent threat of another losing season, Clemson students felt the urge to do something to boost morale ahead of the Georgia Tech game, according to the Greenville Journal. 

With the help of Central Spirit, the “Wreck Tech” parade was staged. Similar to the present day, the parade wove its way through downtown Clemson and ended in the amphitheater with a pep rally. Wreck Tech was a success, as the Tigers won their game the next day. And so, a tradition was born.

The next year, the parade was dubbed “Damn the Wave,” as Clemson’s first opponent that year was the Tulane Green Wave. Eventually, it became simply known as the First Friday Parade.

To this day, Central Spirit still helps to facilitate this tradition, and the support for First Friday has only grown with each passing year.

Clemson President Jim Clements and First Lady Elisabeth Clements waving to
crowds on First Friday 2022. (kat)

Every year at Clemson, students line the streets to cheer on the iconic First Friday parade. The Clemson spirit is out in full force as colorful floats and orange and purple cars pass through.

Members from nearly every club on campus strut through the streets of Tigertown, joined by sororities and fraternities proudly chanting. ROTC cadets can be seen marching in uniform, and the ever-favorite car with the Clemson president and first lady will also make an appearance.

Today, the parade serves as a way to welcome new students and show off what truly makes Clemson, Clemson: the loyalty those who are proud to call themselves Tigers cherish. Even alumni take the opportunity to return and relive their favorite memories from their days of being a Tiger.

This year’s parade will be held on Sept. 8, with the theme of “One Small Town, Yawning its Greatness.”

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About the Contributors
Mercedes Dubberly
Mercedes Dubberly, Associate Editor
Katie Bradham
Katie Bradham, Senior Videographer
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    Mason morganAug 30, 2023 at 10:00 pm

    How do you become a tiger mascot