|Billy Panther visits with campus employees.|
Panther Pride is on the rise in Charleston as the community prepares itself for Eastern Illinois University’s Homecoming 2014 activities.
“Bright Lights, Blue City: Homecoming 2014” events are taking place this week, culminating with the traditional parade, football game and other popular events on Saturday, Oct. 25.
This year’s Homecoming committee planned numerous thematic events and activities designed to showcase EIU Panther Pride throughout campus and the city of Charleston. Several Charleston-area businesses plan to feature window displays, lawn signs and marquees displaying their EIU pride and spirit.
Community residents are welcome to attend many Homecoming events, both on and off campus. The most popular of those will occur on Saturday.
Early risers can prepare for a full day of activity with a warm meal, courtesy of the Charleston Rotary Club. Serving for the 15th 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 under 10, 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 15th 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.
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 Tennessee State, begins at 1:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased the day of the game at O’Brien Stadium, or in advance online, 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 Billy’s Backyard Tailgate event, featuring food, inflatable games and live entertainment.
The public is also invited to attend other Homecoming activities, including the "Light It Up Blue" Pep Rally, with Yell Like Hell/Who Wants to Be a Mascot contests and a Torch March, from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in McAfee Gym – South. A wide range of student cheers/chants, dance routines, and contests will highlights this year's pep rally event.