Cheerleaders, marching band, athletes and a gopher were there

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, October 8, 2008

At the DeVries house Tuesday to witness the family seeing their new home for the first time were several popular guests from around the state.

To entertain the crowd and to be a part of the filming for the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” there were the Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders; the University of Minnesota Gophers baseball team, cheerleaders, mascot and marching band; and Mrs. Minnesota, Miss Minnesota and Miss Teen Minnesota.

The groups posed for pictures, signed autographs and handed out pom-poms and T-shirts in between the show’s filming of the eager spectators.

Email newsletter signup

Not only did the popular guests entertain the crowd, but they also helped keep the spectators’ minds off the chilly, damp temperatures in the hours leading up to the arrival of the DeVrieses.

Patty Hamilton, 19, with the University of Minnesota marching band, said last Thursday — the day the old DeVries house was demolished — she and the other Gopher marching band members received an e-mail from their director asking if anyone would be interested in coming out to welcome home the family. She said she heard that the DeVrieses are big Gopher fans.

Out of the 310-member band, 104 accepted the invitation, she said. Some of the band members even got to film a scene inside the house. They also played their instruments as the crowd cheered for a few other scenes.

The Gophers mascot also drew quite the attention Tuesday, joking around with the “Extreme Makeover” security and even some of the spectators.

Mrs. Minnesota Leisha Gust said she was amazed by everything she had seen Tuesday and Monday.

“It’s just a great experience — rain and all,” Gust said.

In addition to signing autographs for the audience, she said, she is looking forward to helping to dress the family for an upcoming party. As the owner of Pearls and Lace Bridal in Burnsville, she said this is her way she can “give back.”

The Albert Lea High School cheerleaders and mascot were also present at the welcome home.