Lawn decorations, painted store fronts will return starting Monday

Adrienne Burch

Next week The University of Alabama campus will transform. From ornate lawn decorations adorning sorority row and painted store fronts along the Strip to a towering bonfire Friday night on the Quad, this year’s Homecoming Week’s theme, “Timeless Traditions,” will come alive.

Homecoming Week begins Sunday, Oct. 21 and concludes Saturday, Oct. 27 with the Alabama football game against Mississippi State University. The theme was chosen to honor the four national championships won by the Crimson Tide this past year, a timeless tradition of our own, said Abby Grace Brown, executive director for Homecoming 2012.

Brown said this year will be special because the undefeated Crimson Tide is going up against another undefeated opponent.

“It adds a level of competitiveness and excitement to the game, especially because we have a stigma of playing easier teams for Homecoming,” Brown said.

Brown said this year the Homecoming committee has dedicated itself to implementing more opportunities for inclusiveness for many small campus groups and individual students across campus in Homecoming festivities. These festivities kick off Sunday, Oct. 21, with the annual Roll Tide Run. Registration and check-in will be at the rear of Gorgas Library at noon, and the race begins at 1 p.m.

Paint the Town Red, an event where students representing different organizations across campus paint storefronts throughout Tuscaloosa in the theme of Homecoming, will take place Monday, Oct. 22 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Homecoming Queen elections will be held Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m, when students can vote on www.mybama.ua.edu. The winner will be crowned at halftime of the Mississippi State game on Saturday.

Lissa Handley-Tyson, a candidate for this year’s Homecoming Queen, said she has enjoyed her four years at the Capstone more than she could have ever imagined, and Homecoming is just another aspect that she loves about Alabama. She said she is most looking forward to the choreography competition and step show.

“I have never been the best dancer, so I love watching people that can,” Handley-Tyson said.

A new event added to this year’s Homecoming festivities is the Crimson Chalk Challenge, which will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. Organizations will compete to design and decorate a piece of cement on the Quad with chalk. The competition will be judged similarly to the lawn decorating and art competitions.

The annual Homecoming pep rally and bonfire will be held Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. on the Quad.

Katie Welpott, senior director of communications for Homecoming, said she is most excited about the pep rally on Friday night because they will be honoring the Million Dollar Band on their centennial year and announcing the winners for the week’s many competitions.

The Homecoming parade will be held Saturday, Oct. 27, from downtown Tuscaloosa to the University campus.

Grand Marshals for the event will be Alabama softball head coach, Patrick Murphy; Alabama gymnastics head coach, Sarah Patterson; and head coach of the Alabama women’s golf team, Mic Potter. These coaches are being honored for their team’s national championship titles.

Homecoming has been a tradition at the Capstone for over 90 years, and it is a great way to unite campus, Welpott said.

“Homecoming should serve to help build pride in being a student at Alabama and for years to come once becoming an alumnus,” Welpott said. For a full list of Homecoming 2012 events, go to homecoming.ua.edu.