CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Homecoming Week at the University of Illinois is nearing its conclusion, but there are still several events planned for the final two days of the week.
Friday’s signature event is the Homecoming Parade. Starting at 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Fourth Street and Kirby Avenue, the parade will loop around Memorial Stadium and Ikenberry Commons before ending at Grange Grove. U of I alumnus and public address announcer Gene Honda will serve as grand marshal while the 24th-ranked football team will bring up the rear of the parade and serve as the finale.
After the parade is over, a two-part event is planned to take place in Grange Grove. The university will first celebrate the end of its With Illinois campaign, which officials described as the university’s most-successful fundraising campaign to date, followed by a Homecoming pep rally. The two-part event will feature free food, games, tethered hot air balloon rides, speeches by coaches and student athletes, performances by the Marching Illini and campus musical group The Other Guys and will wrap up with a sky show.
Both the parade and Grange Grove festivities are free for the public to attend and watch.
Saturday’s signature event is the Homecoming game against Minnesota. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. but there are several festivities happening outside the stadium before the game.
Grange Grove opens for tailgating at 7 a.m. while activities like inflatables, games, face painting and a balloon artist start an hour later. The Illini Walk takes place at 8:35 a.m.
B1G Tailgate, the Big Ten Network’s weekly pregame show, will be broadcasted live from Lot 31 starting at 9 a.m. Guests will include Illinois men’s basketball coach Brad Underwood, an unnamed current player of the Illinois basketball team and former Illini quarterbacks Jeff George and Jeff George Jr. Fans can bring their own signs or make them onsite.
Homecoming Week will wrap up with a concert by rapper and Champaign native Ludacris at State Farm Center on Saturday. Tickets are still available for the 8 p.m. concert.