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6 things alums should know about Homecoming 2013

Flutist in Homecoming parade

The Big Red Marching Machine walks in the Homecoming Parade in 2012.

Fire up the grill, lace up those running shoes, and put on your Redbird hoodie. It’s Homecoming time.

Illinois State University’s Homecoming celebration runs Monday, September 30, through Sunday, October 6. All your favorite Homecoming traditions are on the schedule, as Illinois State marks the 150th anniversary of its Alumni Association. But there are also plenty of exciting additions to the festivities, so the STATEside crew put together a quick Homecoming guide for alumni making the trek back to Normal:

New Homecoming app

You can plan virtually your entire weekend using Illinois State’s official new Homecoming app. Download the free Guidebook app from your device’s app store (Apple or Android), and then search for “Illinois State Homecoming” to get the guide. You can browse the entire schedule of events, check out maps, follow the festivities on Twitter (#ilstuHomecoming), and submit your Homecoming photos.

Tailgating changes

Many Redbird fans will get their first look at the new Hancock Stadium during Homecoming. The renovations prompted some changes for football parking and tailgating. Alums who plan to tailgate before the 2 p.m. Saturday kickoff are strongly encouraged to prepay for their tailgating spot ($10 for cars, $25 for RVs), because it’s possible all the designated tailgating locations will be sold out by game day. (There are no free tailgating spots.) You can also check out the reshuffled football parking map.

New family event

The Town and Gown 5K will be even more family-friendly this year with the addition of a new 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk, which will start immediately after the 5K outside the Student Fitness Center. You can register online for both activities until October 2. Runners, run/walkers, and walkers are all welcome at the 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk, all participants get a T-shirt, and there’s no charge for small children in strollers. Check out the full route map to see where you’ll be headed. (Sorry, no pets allowed.)

Runners going down College Avenue

The Homecoming Town and Gown 5K in 2012.

Alumni Day Luncheon

Plan on arriving on campus before Saturday? Check out the Alumni Day Luncheon from noon-2 p.m. Friday, October 4, at Bone Student Center. Instead of a keynote speaker, there are plans for a surprise presentation that will pay homage to the Alumni Association’s 150th anniversary. It costs $15 and is open to all alumni, students, faculty, staff, and the public, but you have to register ahead of time by calling (309) 438-2586. Deadline to register is September 27.

Can’t make the parade?

The parade, which steps off at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 5, at College Avenue and University Street, is one of the best parts about Homecoming. (It also gives alumni a chance to see the big changes taking shape in Uptown Normal.) But if you want to see the floats and can’t make it out Saturday morning, you can watch the entire parade online via a YouTube video stream at

Get fired up

After a few years without, the Homecoming bonfire is back. Alumni are welcome to attend the bonfire at 7 p.m. Friday, October 4, outside the north entrance of Redbird Arena. The student Homecoming royalty will also be crowned during the event, which will feature music from a band comprised of several School of Communication professors. The bonfire is co-sponsored by University Program Board (UPB).

For other Homecoming information, such as hotel options, parade details, and a full schedule of events, check out

Ryan Denham can be reached at