Homecoming in Happy Valley

One of the main highlights of October at Penn State is Homecoming week, and this year the theme is “The Glory Echoes On.”  While Homecoming is marked by a full week of activities, it all culminates in weekend long festivities, which include a football game, pep rally, and the largest student-run Homecoming parade in the nation.

Next to the football game, the parade is one of the biggest attractions of Homecoming weekend. Penn State fans flock to the streets of downtown State College to watch the procession of student-athletes, University organizations, and the Homecoming court. This year more than 200 students, alumni, and community members will participate.

While fall gatherings similar to Homecoming can be traced back to as early as the 1860s on the Penn State campus, the first official Penn State Homecoming took place in 1920, when the game against Dartmouth drew around roughly 12,000 Penn State fans.

Events and Activities

If you will be in Happy Valley for Homecoming weekend, make sure to participate in one or all of the family friendly activities taking place. You can also show your Penn State pride while at a distance! If you can’t make it into town there’s no need to miss out. Visit the Penn State Homecoming website to view a live stream of specific events such as the parade.

Friday, October 5

  • Student and Alumni Ice Cream Social: 1:00-4:00 p.m. Stop by the Hintz Alumni Center before the Homecoming parade to meet and chat with other Penn State students and alumni over a bowl of delicious Berkey Creamery ice cream.
  • Homecoming Parade: 6:00 p.m. Don’t miss the largest student-run homecoming parade in the nation! Head downtown to watch as 44 floats created by various student organizations make their way through the streets of State College. View a map of the parade route here.
  • Pep Rally & Royalty Coronation: 8:45 p.m. Get energized for the Homecoming football game by attending the pregame pep rally! Be prepared to witness high levels of Penn State spirit and appearances from some key personalities including the Blue Band, cheerleaders, and the Nittany Lion mascot. Also, watch as the 2012 Penn State Homecoming king and queen are crowned.
  • Guard the Lion: 10:00 p.m. Participate in one of the University’s most time honored traditions of guarding the Nittany Lion statue. Started back in 1966 when Syracuse fans covered the Lion Shrine in paint, Penn State fans have since gathered to protect the Shrine the night before every Homecoming game. The event will feature food, games, entertainment acts, and guest speakers.

Saturday, October 6

  • Tailgate Competition: 9:30 a.m. Think you have the best tailgate food or the most Penn State pride? Then enter your tailgate into the annual Tailgate Competition for the chance to win fun prizes. The competition takes place prior to the game and all Penn State students and alumni are eligible to participate.
  • Homecoming Game: Penn State vs. Northwestern: Noon Kickoff. Cheer on the Nittany Lions as they take on the Northwestern Wildcats!