Homecoming traditions that have stood the test of time

Nobody likes the same-old-same-old. Unless it’s a tradition, then suddenly the same-old-same-old becomes new and exciting each and every time because that’s what a tradition is: Something we keep doing because it makes us feel excited, regardless of how redundant it may seem to everyone else.

At Minnesota State University, Mankato, there’s no shortage of traditions. Especially when it comes to Homecoming week and how Mavericks celebrate it. 

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

The first stop on our walk of reminiscing is how Mavericks have kicked off Homecoming week each year since 2015. 

Right behind Blakeslee Stadium from 8 p.m to 10 p.m. a 25 feet tall bonfire birthed from over 250 pallets of wood light up the night right before fireworks take over the job. For 15 grand minutes, over 2400 shells of fireworks erupt in the sky behind Maverick Midway. 

Prior to it all, the Homecoming committee gets together and plans activities for students and the public to join in on while they wait for the big event to start. Then, once all is ready, a University representative is chosen each year to do the honors of lighting the bonfire. 

The entire event is watched over by the Mankato Fire Department to ensure safety, so all students have to worry about is enjoying the warmth of the fire and the colorful light show in the sky.

The next stop on our walk is the office decorating contest. 

In hopes of getting the faculty and staff as engaged as the students are during Homecoming week, MNSU has been hosting an office decorating contest since 2010.

Each year, a theme is announced and the offices are decorated accordingly. This year, the theme is Maverick State Fair.

Registration to participate is free and prizes are awarded to the first, second, and third place winners. This year, the first place winner gets a $200 gift certificate to Pub 500, the second place winner gets a free pizza party, and the third place winner gets a private movie showing.

According to the archives, the contest has grown to be a big hit, with more than 40 offices participating each year.

While on our walk, we can’t forget to stop and reminisce about the top three traditions that MNSU has kept up with through the years: the Homecoming football game, the Homecoming parade, and the Homecoming concert.

Held at the Blakeslee Stadium every year, the Maverick football team takes on another college while the student section bleeds purple and gold and chants words of encouragement for the home team to get amped on. 

This year at 2 p.m., the Mavericks will be going up against the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears.

As for the Homecoming parade, the theme for the event coincides with the office decorating theme, meaning that this year, the theme is Maverick State Fair.

The parade takes place around the city of Mankato. In 2018, the parade was held downtown. This year, the parade will take place on Warren Street and Stadium Road.

The parade showcases numerous floats, vehicles, and even people walking on foot, all representing either the University or the city of Mankato.

Registration for the parade is free for student groups, University departments, and community based non-profits. All other entries have a registration fee of $100.

The last stop on our walk is the Homecoming concert, a fan favorite.

Each year, the University brings in an artist which students can then purchase general or VIP tickets to watch the artist live at Myers Field House.

This year, the University will be hosting American actor and singer Jesse McCartney on Oct. 1 from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., along with American singer JAX as his opening act.

As the list of traditions gets longer, so will our stroll. Until then, rest up. You’ll need your energy in order to participate in all of MNSU’s Homecoming traditions this week. 

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