Classic Era

With the end of World War II, Homecoming was reborn in 1946 and entered its "classic" era. Homecoming became one of the most important events on the student calendar and was also well attended by the alumni. It was celebrated with ever increasing enthusiasm and extravagance.

The 1946 Homecoming celebration featured a parade with twenty-two floats. Two all-school dances, one a ballroom dance and the other a square dance, followed the traditional Friday night pep rally and bonfire. Capitalizing on the new team name adopted in 1941, "Chippewas," "Indian pageantry" was added to the event. The 1946 Homecoming also marked the election of the first Homecoming queen. 

Elvira Scratch, 1981In the 1950s Homecoming grew ever larger. Floats became more elaborate. The election of a queen involved increasingly complex activities. Over time the supporters of various candidates for queen paid for ads in the campus newspaper, mounted loudspeakers on cars to turn out the vote, and even "bombed" the campus with fliers thrown from an airplane. By the late 1950s the post game formal dance had become so popular that all who wanted to attend could not be housed under a single roof. Thus two balls were held. One was held in Finch Fieldhouse. A second ball was housed in Keeler Union and later,Bonfire after Keeler was closed, in the University Center.


float construction, 1964Although far more complex than in the pre-war years, Homecoming still retained the touch of the irreverence found in the pre-war rushes and class hijinks. Most representative of this aspect of Homecoming during the classic period was Elvira Scratch. One of the events longest running gags, Elvira was the Veterans' Club never very serious candidate for queen. Between 1952 and 1981 Elvira changed her appearance annually but always bore a marked resemblance to one of the club's more extroverted members in women's clothing. She shaved neither her beard nor her legs, disdained showers, wore a tasteless dress, and was frequently seen with a beer in hand. Her float in the parade was often outlandish. One year she rode a manure spreader while another year she sat atop a toilet. Beside from her parade floats, she is also remembered for her annual effort to dash onto the football field at half-time to kiss the most senior member of Central's administration unlucky enough to come within her reach.