Penn State’s Homecoming: And the blue band played on


By Samantha Pearson
Unigo Intern at PSU
Oct. 28, 2008

I should have known that homecoming at Penn State was going to be a big deal, but being a freshman, I had never experienced it before. We’re a big campus. We’re in the Big Ten and to be frank, we think and know that we are a big deal. As we like to say, “We are Penn State!”

This huge event was advertised in advance through white and blue fliers, vast emails, and student announcements. Penn State made sure that its students were aware of Homecoming 2008, the weeklong celebration.

It all started on Monday, Oct. 13 at 4 pm. East Halls Celebration. A yearly tradition held for all freshmen, the East Halls celebration is meant to excite residents for their first homecoming experience. Held in Findlay Commons, there was a gathering of free food, music and dancers. Students sang the school’s fight songs and socialized with other halls

This excitement carried over to Tuesday night, where many different organizations had the opportunity to perform in the annual Airbands Competition. The competition is comprised of lip synch and dance to any theme that the organization chooses. Some highlights this year included the Little Mermaid performance, the women engineers’ Peter Pan skit, and the very personal story to Penn State, Joemeo and Sueliette, performed by the Lion Ambassadors. Needless to say, the love story of our legendary football coach, Joe Paterno, and his wife, Sue, took all that night.

The fun continued in the campus wide scavenger hunt, Nittany Pursuit. Several students split into groups and followed a set of clues that led them to all of Penn State’s hot spots, including the delicious Creamery.

Friday, the day before our big game against the dreaded Michigan Wolverines, classes flew by and most students were out in time to attend the Student-Alumni Ice Cream Social at the Hintz from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. Penn State University alumni, and those hoping to be, enjoyed bowls of ice cream while being entertained by our mascot, the Nittany Lion, Penn State cheerleaders, and the Alumni Blue Band.

After the social, thousands of students lined up at various locations from Beaver Stadium to downtown. All fighting for the best spot, students, alumni, and parents anticipated the start of the 2008 Homecoming Parade.

Starting at 6 pm, the parade wrapped around Paternoville-named after our football guru of course- and headed for the heart of our “small” town. The army, navy and marine groups marched by prior to the prestigious Alumni Blue Band. Following the homecoming court were the floats. Created by Penn State organizations, student group, sororities, and fraternities, the floats came in every size, color, and theme possible. There was the Little Mermaid, The Jungle Book, and The Wizard of Oz. There was Grease, Indiana Jones, and The Goonies. There were pirates, farmers and Paterno look-a-likes.

Ending the parade was the Blue Band, Nittany Lion, cheerleaders, and athletes. Getting students pumped up for the game against Michigan, people walked around in shirts stating ‘Make Michigan Our Bichigan’ and ‘Ann Arbor is a Whore’. Cold and ready to warm up, thousands headed up to Old Main to check out the pep rally. 

The pep rally was just as Penn State likes them. Loud, crazy, and full of spirit and music. The Nittany Lion, cheerleaders, dancers, and band was there to watch Andrew Estes and Elizabeth Kernion be crowned the 2008 Homecoming King and Queen.

After thawing out, university students gathered at the infamous Lion Shrine to attend the annual guard. Started back in 1966, when Sue Paterno and friends covered the lion in orange latex paint to pep students up for the game against Syracuse, and actually committed by Syracuse years later with oil paint, Penn State now loves the yearly tradition of guarding over the lion that we stand for. With a DJ and raffles, there was much to do besides freeze.

Barely rested, football fans started filing in to Beaver Stadium for the fight against Michigan on October 18. Arriving at 2 pm for the 4:30 game, the student body was ready for our revenge against Michigan. After our Drum Major Matt Sabo fell during his routine flip and National Champion twirler PJ Maierhofer dropped her baton, Penn State students watched the disappointing first half of the game, reminiscing on these bad omens.

Last day to enter is October 31st!
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