Register for Homecoming parade, tailgate competition

John Patishnock
July 12, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Homecoming Week, set for Oct. 2–8 this year, stays alive with vibrant Penn State traditions — some newer than others — such as the parade and tailgate competition.

The Homecoming Executive Committee strives to connect students with alumni, and as Alumni Relations Director Shannon McConnell said, “Penn State is something we all have in common, and I believe that is the most important reason to develop those connections.”

Here’s your chance to stay involved.

Registration forms for the parade and tailgating competition are available via Google docs that are hyperlinked on the Penn State Homecoming website (hover over the “Events” tab and select either event), and the links also are available below.

To register your organization for the Homecoming parade, click here.

To register your organization for the tailgate competition, click here.

According to the Homecoming Executive Committee, 214 organizations participated in the parade last year, including student, alumni and community groups.

Among that collection, here are some additional numbers:

—70 alumni organizations

—58 floats/wagons

—89 vehicles

—three marching bands (including the Penn State Blue Band)

—four large helium balloons

In total, approximately 2,200 people walked in the parade, spanning the entire Penn State spectrum. And therein lies part of what makes Homecoming so special: Penn Staters from all different demographics and backgrounds coming together.

“I think the variety of groups we see participate in our annual Homecoming parade is a representation of who Penn Staters really are, which is something we want to showcase,” said Nick Harvey, parade director.

“Penn Staters come from across the globe, and that is something that helps us grow culturally. The diversity we see also ties in the mission of Penn State Homecoming: to celebrate tradition and instill pride in all members of the Penn State family through active engagement of students, alumni, faculty and staff across the community.”

The tailgate competition, meanwhile, started 12 years ago as a way to celebrate student and alumni tailgate traditions through a friendly competition, McConnell said.

Eleven groups participated in the tailgate competition last year, and photos of the winners are on the Homecoming website. McConnell said that “creating new traditions is a great way to develop lasting connections between students and alumni,” adding that the contest differs from a typical networking event where alumni and students might meet. She characterized the competition as “casual and light-hearted.”

Winners are announced in four categories: Best Food, Most Creativity, Best Overall and the Paul Frankhouser Penn State Spirit Tailgate Award.

For more information and questions, email McConnell at

  • Homecoming 2016

    Homecoming is scheduled for Oct. 2-8, leading up to the football game against Maryland at noon on Saturday, Oct. 8. 

    IMAGE: Penn State Homecoming

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 12, 2016