Welcome to Homecoming at the University of Illinois, the place where homecoming was actually invented in 1910 (well, several campuses make that claim, but we’ll go with it). First things first: You don’t have to be a University of Illinois alumnus to join in Illini homecoming celebration festivities. If you love the orange and blue, or even if you just love a good parade, you’re in the #ILLINOIShomecoming “club.”
How to enjoy Homecoming festivities (FOR FREE!):
1. Start off your Homecoming celebrations by cheering on the University of Illinois Homecoming 5K runner and stay for FREE Post-Race Fun. Sunday, Oct. 7, 9:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. Cheer on the sidelines if you’re not participating in the 5K (for a fee) or bring the family out to enjoy the FREE post race atmosphere. Post race activities include live band performances, pumpkin painting, food & drinks, dying the fountain, acapella performances and more.
2. Explore campus at annual family-favorite Vet Med Open House. Sunday, Oct. 7, 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. More than 300 veterinary students will host the FREE annual College of Veterinary Medicine Open House. There will be more than 40 exhibits and demos, and lots of animals to see.
3. Kick off the celebration at the Carnival on the Quad: The FREE carnival will feature family fun for all ages on the quad, including inflatables and food. Make sure to wear your orange and blue to show your #Illini spirit! Friday, Oct. 12, 3:00-6:00 p.m.
4. Go to the Homecoming Parade. Editor’s Note, due to weather, the Homecoming Parade has been cancelled. The parade starts at 6:00 p.m on Friday, Oct. 12, and runs along Armory, Wright, Green and Matthews Avenue through Campustown, ending at the Quad. Our recommendation for where to watch: if you can get there early, watch on Wright Street. Bring a bag for candy! After the Parade…
5. Be part of Gameday: Have a tailgate of your own or go to a friend’s. Who doesn’t love Grange Grove? Or the Illini Walk, when the football team walks through Grange Grove and the Marching Illini give a short performance? Grange Grove opens for tailgating at 7:00 a.m., and activities start three hours before kickoff. The Fighting Illini Walk is two and a half hours before kickoff. Grange Grove closes at 10 p.m. Kickoff for the Homecoming football game against Penn State is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Don’t forget about the clear bag policy if you are attending the game!
6. Check out the painted windows in Campustown.
7. Cheer on Illini Soccer and attend the Illini Women’s Soccer Fan Appreciation Day and Family Sunday on Sunday, Oct. 14, 7:00 p.m. In the final home game of the season, the Illini take on Indiana. There will be inflatables and concession stand discounts for Family Sunday.
8. Explore a campus building, or two! From the Krannert Center to the Performing Arts, to Spurlock Museum, to Krannert Art Museum, to the Plant Biology Greenhouse, campus has plenty of places to keep kids and families busy and entertained.
And …a bonus way to celebrate: Wear Orange. Especially on Illinois Spirit day, on Wednesday, Oct. 10. This goes without saying, right?
How does your family celebrate Homecoming? Tell us in the comments below!