CLEMSON — The Clemson community will gather at 6 p.m. Friday for the annual First Friday Parade, a 40-year tradition before the first home football game.

Since 1974, Clemson University student organizations have marched in a parade the day before the first home football game. This year, more than 70 student organizations will participate in the parade, including 14 Panhellenic and service sororities that are building floats.

The floats will reflect this year’s parade theme: “The Echo of the Tiger.” It’s a reference to a line in the university’s alma mater, which reads, “That the tiger’s roar may echo o’er the mountain height.” The theme will explore the reach that Clemson has on its students, alumni, the community and the country.

President James P. Clements is the parade’s grand marshal. His wife,  Beth, and daughter, Grace, will ride with him.

The parade route follows S.C. 93 from the President’s Home to Williamson Road.

At 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5, Parkway Drive will be barricaded for parade line up which begins at 4 p.m.  All vehicles are required to move by this time or vehicles will be subject to towing.  At 4 p.m., S.C. 93 outbound from campus will be closed from Cherry Road at the President’s Home to Newman Road at the stone gates. Traffic will be routed to McMillan Road via Cherry Road. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. police officers will be in place to monitor traffic turning right from Williamson Road onto S.C. 93.  Before the 6 p.m. parade begins, barricades will prevent any traffic on this section  of S.C. 93 until the conclusion of the parade. From 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. the Clemson Area Transit Red Route will be rerouted to avoid this section of S.C. 93.

The parade is followed by a pep rally on Bowman field with performances by Tiger Band, the cheerleaders and the Rally Cats. The winners of the float competition will be announced, as well as Miss First Friday 2014.

Miss First Friday pits student organizations against each other to see which can raise the most money in the “penny wars.” Jars with the name of a contestant representing each group are located on the Library Bridge through Thursday. The contestant who raises the most money from donations on behalf of her organization’s philanthropic cause will be named Miss First Friday 2014.

Both the parade and pep rally are coordinated by Central Spirit and are free and open to the public.

The First Friday Parade and pep rally precede Clemson’s first home game of the season against South Carolina State on Saturday. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

— Blake Bachara, Class of 2015