It’s Homecoming time, and soon bands of greek life students will parade through Aggieville, storefront windows will be plastered with hand-painted murals and dance groups will chant and stomp in Memorial Stadium.
Preparations for this week-long ordeal begin weeks in advance for students involved and months before for the head Homecoming committee. Tamie Redding, assistant director of student programs, said preparation for the event is no small task.
“Homecoming is a year-round project, but typically, planning will start in spring with the committee deciding on a theme, grand marshal and philanthropy,” Redding said.
This year’s theme is “Wildcat Dreams.” Unlike other years, participants don’t have any assigned sub-themes, allowing student groups to have complete freedom with their designs.
“The Wildcat Dreams concept was a combination of ideas from the committee permitting creativity to the groups to run with their own ideas of, ‘What are your Wildcat Dreams?’” Redding said.
There are many possible topics students can choose from, such as daydreams, bedtime stories and more, Redding said.
Homecoming events kick off at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23, with a philanthropic 5K run — open to both students and Manhattan residents — to support the Manhattan Emergency Shelter. The race offers a virtual option for non-students or non-affiliated students which requires runners to submit their times by noon on Sunday.
Later in the day, spirit signs from each group will be displayed in the Coffman Commons just outside of Hale Library followed by a sidewalk chalking contest in Bosco Plaza from 12-3 p.m. To finish the first day with a bang, “Pant the Chant” occurs in Bramlage Coliseum at 8 p.m. with teams showcasing original chants for all other participants to see.
Oct. 24 begins with “Paint the Ville,” an all-day event that allows storefront windows in Aggieville to be painted with creative murals depicting students’ sub-themes.
The night of Tuesday, Oct. 25, brings more entertainment with “Wildcat Request Live” where teams will lip-sync and perform choreographed routines in Bramlage Coliseum from 8-10 p.m.
The night of Wednesday, Oct. 26, offers a children’s carnival in the Student Union from 6-8 p.m. that invites kids from the community to wear their Halloween costumes while participating in themed games for free.
Thursday, Oct. 27, grants a break in the festivities with the only event being Student Ambassador Elections. Voting is offered for students online from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Trick-or-treating through Aggieville, a parade through the city and a pep rally hosted by Willie the Wildcat, rounds out the school week at 5 p.m on Friday, Oct. 28. The pep rally will include performances from the Classy Cats, Kansas State cheerleaders and the pep band, along with the reveal of individual event winners and the overall Homecoming winners.
Fueled by their week-long successes, students will funnel into Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 29, to cheer on the Cats as they take on Oklahoma State University.
Redding said she can’t decide which Homecoming event is her favorite.
“I love them all. The events are unique and the personality of each participant’s themes are exciting, and we appreciate the work and time it takes to accomplish them,” Redding said.
Andy Robinson, sophomore in pre-med and Homecoming chair for Pi Kappa Alpha, said he likes that Homecoming brings students together.
“Homecoming is all about the creativity of each team and each event reflects how hard we have worked to come up with one of the most unique and exciting themes,” Robinson said. “It’s amazing to see everyone coming together from all walks of life to become Wildcats forever and build long-lasting friendships.”