Homecoming is an iconic tradition, mentioned in everything from Hollywood movies to young adult books. While the majority of schools have a parade, a football game, and a dance, Glenwood has taken this to a new level.
The first Glenwood Homecoming was held in 1936. Businesses around town shut down for two hours for the first game, which, due to the lack of electric lights, was held in the afternoon at the athletic field on South Vine Street. The parade that year consisted of Sheriff B.V. Cooney leading the parade around the square, followed by horseback riders and bands. There was only one float, a football-shaped float pulled by queen candidates and high school boys, bearing Glenwood's first homecoming royalty - Queen Patricia Dalton.
The following year, Mary Schade was crowned queen, and Glenwood crowned Ross B. Garrett its first homecoming king. Garrett passed away Sept. 10 at the age of 92.
The traditions have changed throughout the years. According to Glenwood resident Gary Newman, in the 1940s and 1950s, the Thursday night pep rally would end by students holding hands and performing a snake dance that wound its way around the town. Those nights drew to a close with a bonfire.
In 1967, John Watson and Dr. R.S. Troutman began the Glenwood Outcast Society. This was created as a way for non-Glenwood High School graduates to participate in homecoming. A dance was held in the basement of the old city hall, with Lyndal Livengood being crowned Outcast King and Mary Edwards being crowned Outcast Queen. The Outcast Dance is still held each year.
While many schools have a homecoming, Glenwood's homecoming is known around the Midwest for its size. Chuck Offenberger, the Des Moines Register’s “Iowa Boy” from 1977 to 1998, wrote in a column “They really come home for homecoming here.”