Thousands of proud Panthers will return to their alma mater this week as Eastern Illinois University celebrates “There’s No Place Like EIU: Homecoming 2016.”
Events, including “The Wizard of Paws” Homecoming Coronation, begin today, and will culminate with the traditional parade, football game and other popular events on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Community residents are welcome to attend most Homecoming events, both on and off campus.
Early risers on Saturday can prepare for a full day of activity with a warm meal, courtesy of the Charleston Rotary Club. Serving for the 17th annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast will take place from 6:30 to 10 a.m. in the parking lot of Dirty’s Bar & Grill, located at the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue. The price is $6 for adults and $3 for children 10 and under, with all proceeds from the event going to various local charities.
With their appetites taken care of, diners can either burn off those calories or simply support those who are by attending the 17th annual EIU/Charleston Homecoming 2.5k (1.5-mile) Race/Walk at 9 a.m. Participants will begin at the corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, make their way north on Seventh Street to the Charleston Square, then return to EIU’s Old Main via Sixth Street.
An entry fee of $10 will be collected from each participant, while awards are designated for the top male and female finisher in each of three categories: run, walk and wheelchair. (See http://www.eiu.edu/homecomingrace/register.php for registration information.)
The EIU Homecoming Parade is an annual tradition consisting of campus/community entries – floats, bands and decorated cars, to name just a few. Participants will line up near on the east side of Old Main and, beginning at 9:30 a.m., march northward up Seventh Street to Monroe Avenue, west on Monroe to Sixth Street, then head south to Polk Avenue where they will again turn west. Upon reaching Division Street, they will turn south, cross Lincoln Avenue and head for Grant Avenue (a.k.a. Panther Way), winding up at the tailgate area at O’Brien Stadium.
The annual Homecoming football game, in which the EIU Panthers will host Murray State, begins at 1 p.m. Tickets may be purchased the day of the game at O’Brien Stadium, or in advance online (http://www.eiupanthers.com/sports/2007/6/25/tickets.aspx?path=promomktg#Football%20Tickets), in person at the EIU Ticket Office (Lantz 2530; open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday), or by calling 217-581-2106.
Football fans are invited to arrive early to show their Panther Pride at this year’s traditional Billy’s Backyard Tailgate event, featuring food, inflatable games and live entertainment.
The public is also invited to attend other Homecoming activities, including a Homecoming bonfire and barbecue from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, near the Campus Pond and this year’s “Oz-some!” Pep Rally from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in McAfee Gym-South.
See this year’s Homecoming website for more information: http://www.eiu.edu/homecoming/.