Besides commencement, Homecoming is Illinois State’s longest-standing tradition. In 1921, then-president David Felmely brought a trending idea to the University, appointed a committee, and the first official Homecoming was planned for the first weekend of November. Approximately 700 alumni returned for a pre-game parade from Old Main to the football field, a party in Fell Hall, a dance, and a free waffle breakfast.

Over 100 years later, the tradition has grown to a week full of events with many Redbird favorites held on Homecoming Saturday. Homecoming 2022: Celebrating Red, held October 10–16 is no different. Redbirds will start Saturday morning (October 15) with the Town and Gown 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk, held in person and virtually this year.

Alumni, families, friends, and the Bloomington-Normal community will then gather along the parade route to watch the showcase of Redbird spirit. Illinois State departments, registered student organizations, and community organizations are invited to be a part of this Redbird tradition that has grown to be one of the highest attended events at the University. The Homecoming Parade will also be streamed live on Illinois State University’s Facebook page for those who cannot attend.

The parade also showcases the Homecoming royalty. Alumni can submit nominations for the alumni king and queen by July 25 and for the prince and princess by August 19. Complete details and applications can be found on the Homecoming royalty website.

After the parade, Homecoming guests can head over to the Redbird Tent Zone and tailgate area where many colleges and departments will host tailgates for alumni, employees, guests, and current students.

Then at 2 p.m., Hancock Stadium will fill with fans as the Redbird football team takes on South Dakota. Those interested in tickets can visit Athletics’ ticket site to purchase when they become available to the public later this summer.

Visit the Homecoming website to stay updated on new events as they get added to the calendar. Also follow Homecoming on Twitter for highlights, contests, updates, and fun #RedbirdHomecoming facts.

Questions or more information on Homecoming can be sent to Stephanie Duquenne, senior director for Alumni Engagement.