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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 25, 2015) — When the University of Kentucky football team takes the field against the Eastern Kentucky University Colonels at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, it will mark the 100th anniversary of Homecoming at the University of Kentucky. UK's 2015 Homecoming celebration begins Saturday, Sept. 26, and concludes Sunday, Oct. 4.
The first Homecoming was celebrated in November 1915; UK beat the Tennessee Volunteers 6-0 on the gridiron, but the real fun of the celebration were the friendships and fond memories revisited by alumni, students and their families.
One hundred years later, that fun and celebration remains the goal of Homecoming.
"I feel honoring those traditions from the past just makes for a better today and a better future for UK," Zoe Pittman, chair of UK's Homecoming Coalition, said.
For the first time, several traditional UK events are coming together to be part of Homecoming. This year's Homecoming celebration welcomes Family Weekend, hosted by the Office of New Student and Family Programs, and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's Ag Roundup as part of the festivities.
"Homecoming is something that has transcended time," Grace Hahn, program director for student engagement in the Office of Student Involvement and Homecoming Coalition advisor, said. "It's maybe looked a little bit different over time but it is one word that everyone can connect to in one form or another."
Tailgating tents will not be the only tents seen on campus during Homecoming week. The annual campout for Big Blue Madness tickets begins Wednesday, Sept. 30, with distribution of tickets beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2.
Traditional events, including Paint the Town Blue, Homecoming royalty and class reunions, play a large role in celebrating the "Race to 100," this year's homecoming theme. Students, families and alumni will also enjoy racing at Keeneland during the opening weekend of the fall meet.
"This year we really wanted to celebrate the traditions and places that make the UK experience so unique and special," Garrett Goolsby, Homecoming Coalition public relations chair, said. "The coalition selected 'Race to 100' as the theme because it spoke not only to Homecoming and our 100th anniversary but also to horse racing at Keeneland, a favorite October pastime of UK students and alumni alike."
Keeneland will host the Breeders Cup at the end of October, marking the first time the elite racing event has been in Lexington.
This momentous moment in UK history deserves a big celebration, so we are having one! The UK Alumni Association, New Student and Family Programs and the Homecoming Coalition are partnering to celebrate in a big way with the Race to 100 Homecoming Celebration. Students, families, alumni and friends are invited to join together for a fun-filled, family-friendly evening from 6 until 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, at William T. Young Library. Traditions tours will be offered, weather permitting, along with food, music, games and some of your favorite Wildcat teams. Register for this free event here.
"I'm honored to be a part of the 100 years," Pittman said. "I'm excited to see what campus is going to feel like and to see how many people come back and our students now excited for Homecoming."
Watch the video above to see what UK's first Homecoming was like and how it has changed over the years through the stories of generations of UK alumni.
Saturday, Sept. 26 - Sunday, Sept. 27
Paint the Town Blue Painting
8 a.m. (Sat.) through 8 a.m. (Mon.)
Various off and on campus locations
Student organizations depict UK's Homecoming "Race to 100" theme through Paint the Town Blue. Artwork will be displayed throughout campus and various Lexington business locations beginning the week of Sept. 28. Paintings will be displayed all week long.
8 a.m. (Sat.) through 8 a.m. (Mon.)
William T. Young Library and the Johnson Center
Student organizations begin Homecoming's "Race to 100" with a banner competition. The Banners will hang in William T. Young Library and Johnson Center throughout the week beginning Sept. 28. Banners will be on display all week.
Monday, Sept. 28
7 - 9 p.m.
Singletary Center for the Arts
Come out and support the Royalty Court as all of the wonderful qualities of each candidate are highlighted. There will be a question and answer portion, a talent competition, voting for your favorite candidate, and a few awards will be given. This showcase will partially determine who will be the 2015 Homecoming King and Queen, crowned at the Homecoming game Saturday, Oct. 3.
Tuesday, Sept. 29
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Kitty Karnival features small carnival games created by student organizations for children to come and enjoy on campus. This event has become a UK and community tradition that both students and children love to attend! This event welcomes local schools, UK alumni family and UK faculty, staff and student families.
Thursday, Oct. 1
Homecoming Street Fair
6 – 9 p.m.
Area surrounding William T. Young Library
Celebrate Homecoming and being a Wildcat with the second annual Homecoming Street Fair located around William T. Young Library. Enjoy free food, games, activities, giveaways and much more. There will also be appearances by UK Cheerleaders, Dance Team and Pep Band. The Homecoming Royalty Court will also be announced and present.
Friday, Oct. 2
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Celebrate 100 majestic years of Homecoming with the UK Alumni Association at our Homecoming Royalty Reunion! Join all past UK Homecoming Kings and Queens for a special luncheon in your honor. Take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the days when you wore the crown as the tradition of Homecoming continues! Invitations have been sent to all royalty candidates. Please contact Jill Smith with questions or for additional information at email@example.com or 859-257-8906.
Family Weekend and Race to 100 Homecoming Celebration
6 - 9 p.m.
William T. Young Library, 401 Hilltop Avenue
Celebrate 100 years since the first UK Homecoming and UK's sesquicentennial! The UK Alumni Association is teaming up with New Student Family Programs and the UK Homecoming Coalition to celebrate Homecoming in a big way! Don't miss out on a fun-filled, family-friendly night at the William T. Young Library. Be sure to get your school spirit on with your favorite Wildcat teams paired with food, music, games and other activities. Traditions tours will also be offered, weather permitting. Come early for a complimentary gift commemorating this special year. Click here to register.
Saturday, Oct. 3
KY Farm Bureau Tents (E.S. Good Barn), 1451 University Drive
42nd Annual Roundup will take place at E.S. Good Barn. Come reconnect with fellow alumni and friends and learn about the exciting advancements of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Click here to register.
UK Alumni Association Homecoming Tailgate Tent Party
Tobacco Research and Development Center Lawn 1, 1401 University Drive
Get ready to cheer on the Cats as they take on Eastern Kentucky University at our Tailgate Tent Party. Enjoy tailgate food along with exciting games, entertainment, giveaways and performances by the UK Cheerleaders and Pep Band. Click here to register.
Eastern Kentucky University vs. UK Football Game
It's Colonels vs. 'Cats as UK takes on Eastern Kentucky University in the 2015 Homecoming game!
Royalty and Wildcat Cup Winners
Stay in your seats during halftime to find out the 2015 Homecoming king and queen and the winners of the Wildcat Cup!
Sunday, Oct. 4
Registration 1 – 2:30 p.m.; Race at 3 p.m.
Coldstream Park, 1500 Bull Lea Road, Suite 100
The DanceBlue 5K is a Homecoming tradition. DanceBlue is a student-run philanthropy, which raises awareness and funds for the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Come be a part of the 5K to learn more about these brave children and families and run for the kids! Please visit www.ukhomecoming.com for more information, including preregistration for the race. Click here to register.
MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, firstname.lastname@example.org, 859-257-1909