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Festivities mark successful Homecoming week

October 9, 2008

Cooler temperatures and changing fall colors signaled the 2008 Homecoming festivities at UW-River Falls. This year’s theme, Fiesta de la Noche (“Party of the Night”), gave way to a variety of Latin-themed events as well as the traditional activities that have defined UWRF Homecoming for years.

Traditions and Homecoming Committee Chair Amanda Krier said that the Homecoming Committee decided on the theme after it was suggested by a student who is a Spanish minor.

“I brought it up to the Committee and we all decided that phrase would work for Homecoming, since it means ‘party of the night,’” she said.

As chair of the Committee, Krier oversaw many of the events and delegated certain tasks to other Committee members during the events that she was unable to attend. She served as the main contact person throughout the week, but is quick to note that the week’s events could not have happened without her staff of dedicated Committee members who have been planning this year’s homecoming events since last spring.

“As soon as the Winter Carnival is over in the spring semester, we start on Homecoming,” she said. “The Committee’s goal is to have everything planned before school ends so there is not much to do when the new school year starts.”

The week kicked off Monday at 9 a.m. with the posting of the first clue for the Medallion Hunt. During the afternoon hours, students had the chance to put their mechanical bull riding skills to the test, and were treated to snow cones, popcorn and music. Also on Monday, the 2008 Homecoming Royalty candidates were introduced and online voting for king and queen began.

As the second Medallion Hunt clue was posted Tuesday morning at the University Center Information Desk, the Food Drive Competition kicked off near the Riverside Commons. For this competition, each team was required to decorate a box based on the Homecoming theme, as well as who they were representing. Students were encouraged to donate food to their favorite team’s box, with the collected items going to the local food shelf.

The “Team Quiz Wiz” took place in the Falcon’s Nest at 1 p.m. on Tuesday and Royalty candidates returned later that night for the Royalty Salsa Dance Competition. Competitors were required to perform a one minute dance in front of a live salsa band. Candidates were judged on their dance skills, enthusiasm and costumes, according to Krier.

Medallion hunters returned to the University Center Wednesday for the third clue, while students donated items to their favorite couple’s or organization’s box for the School Supply Competition, with the items being distributed to local schools.

Wednesday night showcased perhaps the most anticipated event of the week: the annual Lip Sync competition. 

The “Livin’ la Vida Loca” themed show began in the North Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m., and featured student organizations, Greek life and residence halls competing head-to-head in an ultimate showdown of lip sync and entertainment ability.

“The lip sync competition is always a good time,” junior Dana Bauer said. “The acts are always entertaining and fun to watch.”

The fourth and final Medallion Hunt clue was posted Thursday morning in the University Center, and members of the Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) fraternity were declared the winners. The Pop Tab Competition began near Riverside Commons, where each team collected pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House, Krier said. Royalty candidates then moved on to the taco eating contest in front of the University Center. For this event, they were challenged to eat six tacos as fast as they could, with the team with the fastest time winning.

Royalty candidate voting ended Friday afternoon and participants spent the day putting the final touches on their Homecoming floats before the Homecoming Parade Saturday morning in downtown River Falls.

Also Saturday, a Homecoming barbecue brought students, staff, alumni and community members together before the Falcons took on UW-Stevens Point in the Homecoming football game.

“I’ve never been to the Homecoming Parade before, but I’m glad I was able to make it this year,” Bauer said. “It was neat to see both the UWRF campus community and the River Falls community come together, and the old guys on the little go-karts were pretty awesome.”

A packed stadium at Ramer Field saw the Falcons defeat the Pointers 36-30, and at halftime, Pete Thome of AGR and Vicki Cooper of Sigma Alpha were named UWRF’s 2008 Homecoming king and queen.

As the week’s events came to an end, Krier said she hoped that UWRF students, faculty and even alumni realize that Homecoming events are for everybody—not just the Greeks.

“It [Homecoming] is a time to have fun and show school spirit,” she said. “[Next year] I hope we get more participation from the residence halls and organizations.”