Karl Bumeisters almost never misses a New Hyde Park Memorial High School homecoming game.
“It’s like reliving your youth,” Bumeisters said as he watched the Gladiators take on the Wantagh Warriors on Saturday. He also joined hundreds of others to watch the pre-game parade.
The parade route started on Lakeville Road and proceeded down Jericho Turnpike, to New Hyde Park Road and ended at the high school.
The procession included floats designed by students in each grade around this year’s “Hollywood Hits” theme, as well as cheerleaders, twirlers, the Romanettes dance group, the step team and this year’s homecoming king and queen.
The parade also included New Hyde Park Fire Department trucks and a Nassau County police escort.
“We wait all year long for this,” said Joan Zornberg, treasurer of the Parent Teacher Student Association. “It brings the whole New Hyde Park community together.”
For some, the most exciting part is the half-time show, which featured the cheerleaders, Romanettes, twirlers and step team.
“The four groups work together to come up with a skit,” said Kevin Kowalczyk, a teacher at New Hyde Park Memorial and the homecoming adviser.
During the half-time show, names of the winners for the best float were announced, along with the names of this year’s homecoming king and queen -- Liam O’Connor and Taylor Kerrane.
Michael DeMartino, the high school’s principal, said some high jinks were also part of the annual tradition: The cheerleaders went out the night before the game and toilet-papered the players' houses. He said about 1,500 attended the game.
This year, New Hyde Park inducted five former players into its sports Hall of Fame. Two of the players were from the class of 1977, including Bobby "Sparky" Anderson, 52, a resident of New Hyde Park, who stayed for the entire game.
The Gladiators fell 35-8 to the Wantagh Warriors, but for homecoming adviser Kowalczyk, it was an uplifting day.
Looking at the packed bleachers, he said: “I’ve been to many homecoming games, and nothing can hold a candle to this.”