The familiar season of homecoming festivities is upon us. This year will mark the 98th year since the original University of Wisconsin–Stout homecoming, which took place in 1917. Much has changed since then, but certain traditions have proven to be timeless.
A homecoming parade has been part of campus experience since 1923, but has not played a role in our celebration every year. This year the parade will return Saturday, Oct. 3 at 11 a.m. after a four-year hiatus.
The chancellor at that time originally canceled this celebration after a series of alcohol-related incidents disrupting the parade. Chancellor Bob Meyer has decided to bring back the parade. “I think we’re in a better place now, so I think we’re going to give it a try,” said Meyer.
The parade will be shorter and have a new route. Jennifer Lee, chair of the Homecoming Parade Committee, has stated that this change of route has been made for practical reasons. “The goal was for it to be more contained to campus and to include Main Street for the community aspect,” said Lee.
Participants in this year’s parade will include the band, color guard, a police escort, chancellor, spirit sponsor, homecoming king and queen, along with over 16 other student organizations and small businesses.
One of the new features added to this year’s festivities will be Stout Summit. The event will take place all day Friday and will be open to alumni, local businesses and several businesses from out of town. Meyer said, “The idea of the summit is to have a program that might be interesting to the alumni that will be coming back.”
The main speaker this year will be Dave Anderson, the founder of Famous Dave’s.
Though this is meant to be a beta year for the summit, Director of Stout Alumni, Juliet Fox, has big plans for the future. “We are committing to doing this annually,” she said, “Next year will be much bigger because we’ll be celebrating our 125th birthday as a university.”
Several other events will also be taking place on Saturday. The community breakfast, originally started in 1922, will make its return as well. It will be held at The Silver Dollar, previously known as the Buck, at 8 a.m., and will be presented by the Stout Alumni Association and the Greater Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce.
Other festivities include the Blue Devil Walk and Run at 9 a.m., the football game that will take place at 2 p.m., and the Alumni and Community Celebration at 3 p.m. Andrew Mercil, a current member of the Menomonie City Council, will also conduct tours of historical Menomonie all day.
Students are encouraged to get out during homecoming weekend to enjoy as much of the festivities as possible, and to recognize the history that is present on campus. “It’s really cool getting to see old traditions with new twists on them,” said Lee. “(Homecoming) is just a celebration of who we are, this is a great place to be.”