Return to Headlines

Full House for Fan Fest

Full House for Fan Fest

Memorial Stadium hosts community for kick-off back-to-school event


It was not a free T-shirt that made Marie Burleson come early to Fan Fest on Aug. 17 to snag a good seat in the warm evening breeze.


It was the kids.


“This is my chance to see all the high schools at once since I don’t have a special school I cheer for,” she said. “I like to show support for all the schools in my district.”


Ms. Burleson said she especially loves the bands and the football teams.  “I’m just here to support them all.”



WFISD athletes get in position for introductions at Fan Fest, held August 17, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.
FF baby  
Community members of all ages packed the Memorial Stadium for the season’s first back-to-school event, Fan Fest.



She and about 700 others took time, though, to collect a free Fan Fest 2016 T-shirt when they filed into Memorial Stadium for the district’s popular back-to-school, kick-off event.


The free Fan Fest T-shirts each year are coveted by many, and the line to stand in to collect one stretched ominously down the sideway from the stadium’s West Gate.


Community members filled the west side of the Memorial Stadium bleachers to watch emcee Tobin McDuff introduce the bands, football teams, cheerleaders, tennis players, cross country teams, volleyball teams and dance teams for all three high schools.


 FF bands
All three high schools combined their bands for a marching routine to “Fancy” and “Right Round.”  The drums and cadence brought the unmistakable vibe of a new football season to the stadium.




Mr. Justin Lewis led the combined band of Hirschi, Wichita Falls, and Rider High Schools that marched across the stadium turf and performed together “Fancy” and “Right Round.” A JROTC joint color guard from all three schools also posted colors.


Athletic Director Scot Hafley and Fine Arts Director Kelly Strenski also welcomed the crowd, stressing district unity. They urged the community to support all our students, all the time.


Athletes poured out of their school’s inflated mascot tunnels for their first run across the field. Coaches and players passed the microphone from one to another, as Wichita Falls High School coaches made introductions first, then Rider High



 FF free T-shirt
 Free Fan Fest T-Shirts are an event highlight. WFISD gave out more than 700.


 Free T-shirt 4U

Free T-shirt for you? Size? 


School coaches and teams, then Hirschi High School coaches and teams.


The theme was the same: Athletes and coaches crave the community’s support and attendance at their games.


Community member Jerry Bohannon, who graduated from Wichita Falls High School, said he came to Fan Fest Wednesday because he continues to be a long-time fan of the school. He attended from 1964 through 1968.


“I back everything,” he said.



FF happy helpers  

It takes about 50 volunteers to pull off Fan Fest every year, but it’s a happy crew.



Julie Daye came early to get a good seat at Fan Fest to watch her daughter, who is captain of the cheerleading squad at Hirschi this year. “She has cheered all four years at Hirschi,” said her mother.


Since her daughter has been involved at the high school for so long, Ms. Daye knows many of her daughter’s friends who have grown from little children into young adults. Attending Fan Fest is a great way to see many of them, she said.


Mike Rose and his family admitted they didn’t know much about Fan Fest because they were not from Wichita Falls and were new to the district this year. “Our daughter is an incoming freshman at Old High,” he said. “This is our first Fan Fest.”


Fine Arts and Athletic leaders introduced at Fan Fest included:

·      WFHS Senior Drum Major Yeager Edwards

·      WFHS Junior Drum Major Noah Mendiola

·      Hirschi Senior Drum Major Evan Jackson

·      Hirschi Junior Drum Major Luke Burkett

·      Rider Drum Major Caleigh Studer


Fan Fest sponsors:

·      Cardinal Sports

·      Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott Attorneys at Law

·      KFDX Channel 3



·      Wichita Falls High School’s Paul Sharr

·      Rider High School’s Marc Bindel

·      Hirschi High School’s Danny Youngs


FF line
 You can measure the popularity of Fan Fest and its free T-shirts by viewing the enormous line at the entrance that snaked from the West gate at Memorial Stadium so far down the sidewalk that it nearly reached the veterans memorial. Community members stood in the August heat and felt a little relief from a stiff breeze.