Just when you’re starting to feel old, when you’re missing the freedom and frivolity of your college years, homecoming rolls around. That’s when you can revisit your university years and go back to your alma mater. Although times change, the student body changes and maybe even your old dorm has been leveled to make some improvements, one thing always stays the same: your homecoming ritual. If you’re in school for sports management, this might hit home even harder, because this is your team and your passion. Below are the top five homecoming celebrations across the nation. Talk about spirit!
The Gator Growl
This homecoming celebration at the University of Florida is so big it even has its own website. It begins with the largest student-run pep rally in the world and continues with a pageant and parade. The celebration continues with Soulfest, a diverse performance spectacular with music, food and art. The weekend’s festivities also include a 2-mile race, an alumni barbecue and a homecoming festival.
South Dakota State has been celebrating homecoming with Hobo Day, one of the biggest events in the state, for more than 100 years. Although it may not be exactly politically correct, it draws a lot of school spirit with activities such as the One-Month Club, a contest that judges the fullest, softest and longest body hair after participants spend one month letting their leg hair or their beards grow unimpeded. During Paint the Town, students paint the windows of local businesses to show their devotion to their team. During the Hobo Day parade, even local officials will dress as hobos and march with the rest of them.
The Spirit Splash
University of Central Florida has literally one of the coolest pep rallies during homecoming. During the Spirit Splash, students rush into the school’s reflecting pool right before Friday’s game. This event is one of the school’s most endearing traditions and helps everyone get pumped up to cheer on the football team.
Lighting the Y
East of Brigham Young University, Y Mountain has a giant letter “Y” made from sand, concrete and rock imprinted on its face. During the university’s homecoming festivities, students hike up the mountain and screw in hundreds of light bulbs, outlining the letter and setting it ablaze. The letter can be seen for miles and is now a nationally recognized symbol of the university. Although shuttles take students to the base of the mountain, it is considered an honor to be one of the first to hike up the mountain and help light the letter that represents the university.
The Blood Drive
Some say that the University of Missouri invented the homecoming celebration. In 1911, the athletic director at the time asked for alumni to come home and return to the university for the annual football game against the rival team. Now, students put on an amazing lineup of events to celebrate homecoming, including a blood drive that usually helps to collect more than 5,000 units of blood per year, helping to save lives.
Although the highlight of homecoming is the most talked-about football game of the season, there’s more to fall than football. The creative and long-standing celebrations at some of the nation’s most talked-about schools show that sports can really bring a community together.
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