The University of Tennessee is celebrating Homecoming this week 100 years after the tradition started.
The Homecoming tradition began in Tennessee back in 1916, when some 300 alumni returned to campus to cheer on the Vols when they took on Vanderbilt. This year's Homecoming theme is "Journey through 100 Years of Volunteers."
While it's been 100 years since the tradition started, this isn't UT's 100th homecoming. World War I prevented it from becoming an annual celebration until 1925. Homecoming has been held every year since then, except for 1943. The tradition has since grown into the grand spectacle that we see today.
The Vols have only lost 18 Homecoming football games in the 100-year history of the tradition.
Here's a list of the events to look forward to:
- The action began Sunday with the Barnwarmin' event at Fiji Island on campus. The event which began as a dance is back after more than half a century, and it's evolved into a full-fledged fall festival.
- Monday at 2 p.m. students will be dying the Europa and the Bull and Clarence Brown fountains on campus orange. It's the most recent Homecoming tradition, dating back to 2010.
- Thursday, students will get into the spirit with Smokey's Howl at Cox Auditorium. The cheering competition began back in the 90's.
- The Homecoming Parade will be held Friday at 4 p.m., with the parade route beginning at Fiji Island on campus. The grand marshal will be UT alumnus and benefactor John D. Tickle.
- Party in the Park and the Rocky Top Tailgate will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in Circle Park. There will be live entertainment, performances by the pep band and cheerleaders, door prizes, face painting and balloon art. More information on Party in the Park is available at homecoming.utk.edu/events.
- The Vol Walk will start at 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Torchbearer Plaza on Volunteer Boulevard.
- The Vols will take on the 3-5 Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles in their Homecoming game Saturday at 4 p.m. at Neyland Stadium. This is the first time the two teams have played each other in 65 years. That game will be broadcast on the SEC Network. Before kick-off, UT will bring out horses on the field, with a Tennessee Walking Horse named DropBack leading the tradition.