Orange and Blue, Tried and True: Why Your Family Belongs at University of Illinois Homecoming Festivities
Welcome to Homecoming at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the place where homecoming was actually invented in 1910 (well, several campuses make that claim, but we’ll go with it).
First things first:
1. 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.” This year more than ever, the campus is making a concerted effort to incorporate the community as part of homecoming celebrations, regardless of where you went to school.
And second things second:
2. While we definitely love attending Fighting Illini Athletics (see our list of 10 reasons why families love U of I sports), there’s plenty to Homecoming beyond a football game.
How to enjoy Homecoming festivities (most of them are FREE!):
Start off your Homecoming celebrations by cheering on the University of Illinois Homecoming 5K runners and stay for FREE Post-Race Fun. Sunday, Oct. 13, 9:00 am- 12:00 pm. Regardless of whether you are participating in the 5K, bring the family out to enjoy the FREE post-race fun starting at 10:30 am. See the fountain dyed orange and blue; enjoy live bands, pumpkin painting, free pancake breakfast, acapella performances and more. Did we mention it’s free?
Go to the Homecoming Parade. The Marching Illini! Cool Floats! Candy! The parade starts at 6:00 p.m on Friday, Oct. 18, and runs along 4th Street, Pennsylvania Ave,, 6th Street, Gregory and Goodwin- ending at the corner of Goodwin and Nevada. Check out this map for the parade route. Don’t forget to bring a bag for candy!
Alma’s Art Walk, Friday Oct. 18 and 19
New this year: Alma is eager to host you on a self-guided, family-friendly campus-wide art walk full of quirky facts, herstory, art, and architecture—complete with coloring pages and grab bags for the kids. Pick up your map and goodies at one of four starting points any time during the weekend. Sign up online to get full details beforehand.
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. Kickoff for the Homecoming football game against Wisconsin is scheduled for 11 a.m. Don’t forget about the clear bag policy if you are attending the game!
Check out the painted windows in Campustown. Many Campustown businesses will paint their windows to celebrate the Homecoming theme. It’s a long-standing tradition.
Go to a concert.
Annual University of Illinois Bands Homecoming concert: Help celebrate one of the most prominent, historic, and largest collegiate band programs in the world. At Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Oct 18 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $4 for kids/students, $10 for adults.
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 any day, anywhere: Wear Orange. This goes without saying, right?