Oct. 2—Trucks line the Alumni Coliseum parking lot, as the scent of grilled hot dogs and burgers waft into the air.
Someone who just scored a winning throw at cornhole, cheers.
It's EKU Homecoming.
Eastern Kentucky University is welcoming back alumni for an in-person celebration of Homecoming Saturday.
"The whole idea of Homecoming is for people to come together," Dan McBride, associate vice president for development and alumni engagement, said.
Last year, EKU hosted their Homecoming events virtually, and McBride said things just weren't the same.
This year, however, things are back to normal, albeit with a bit more preventive measures.
McBride said all Homecoming events would adhere to campus protocols regarding health measures for COVID-19. This means masks must be worn inside all indoor events and social distancing is recommended.
The fun started Thursday evening with the Colonel Corn Roast, where students and Alumni enjoyed fresh roasted corn alongside musical ensembles performed by EKU's band and performances by the university's color guard.
One of McBride's favorite Homecoming events occurred Friday evening, the Homecoming Parade. This was the first parade since the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I can remember going to the Homecoming Parade since I was very young," McBride said.
In the past, businesses downtown painted their windows in support of the college. This year, many will be hanging signs in their windows to tout EKU's maroon colors.
McBride said the parade had 70 entries with around a dozen floats.
There was no theme for the parade. McBride said EKU stopped doing themes a few years back. Instead, they "just let Homecoming be Homecoming."
The "jewel of the weekend," according to McBride, is the football game. He said it is the main event. However, the other events around the football game are what makes Homecoming "what it is."
"It's an important tradition," McBride said of Homecoming. "It's one of those things for Alums, that brings them together. They remember their college days, and they remember how life was as a college student. And if you can keep the traditions going, those are the things that can help bring those memories back."
EKU Homecoming Schedule for Saturday, Oct. 2
Homecoming 5K — 7:30 a.m.Hosted by EKU Campus Recreation featuring a new route starting and ending in front of the new Student Recreation Center.
J.W. Spider Thurman Alumni Awards and Pioneer Brunch — 10 a.m. to noonCelebrating the Pioneer Class of 1971 and honoring Alumni Awards recipients.
Divine 9 Plaza Ribbon Cutting — 11 a.m.Celebrating the history of the National Pan-Hellenic Council with the ribbon cutting of a plaza meant to be a special place on campus to honor the past, present and future members of the NPHC.
EKU Homecoming Football Game — 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.The Colonels will play against the Texans of Tarleton State University. During halftime the 2021 Homecoming Court will be introduced and the King and Queen will be crowned.