by Cecilia Demoski ’23
It’s Homecoming time in Tennessee! Homecoming gives the UT family a chance to reconnect, reunite, and celebrate with each other each year. This year’s Homecoming, A Salute to Smokey, is no exception, and is bigger and better than ever! The campus will be buzzing all week, with an orange fountain, chalk over the pedestrian walkway, and banners hanging from Neyland Stadium! Featuring traditions we know and love, Homecoming 2022 will also introduce our Volunteer family with some new signature events to make this a week to remember!
This is your guide to Homecoming 2022: Salute to Smokey! For a full event list, visit homecoming.utk.edu.
Big Orange Pumpkin Patch
On Monday, October 17, the campus will turn orange with the return of the Big Orange Pumpkin Patch! The pumpkin patch will be located on the Humanities Lawn and will begin at 2 p.m.
Chancellor’s Homecoming Kickoff and Pep Rally
Later in the day, be sure to join the Chancellor in the official Homecoming Kickoff and Pep Rally event, a new event that will feature free food, carnival games, and free t-shirts! The Spirit Squad will be in attendance, as well as everyone’s favorite bluetick coonhound, Smokey X! This is a brand new event and will be at HSS Plaza beginning at 4 p.m.
MPP First Year Pagent
The Multicultural Mentoring Program (MPP)’s First Year Pagenet is a very popular Homecoming event and allows first-year students to showcase their personalities and talents to the UT student body. In association with Multicultural Student Life, the First Year Pagent is a can’t-miss event that is sure to draw a big crowd. The pageant will be on Tuesday, October 18 in the Student Union Auditorium at 7 p.m. (p.s. be sure to grab your ticket before you head over!)
Homecoming Breakfast, UTK Spirit Day
It’s the midway point of Homecoming, but the events are still at full speed, Vols! Join the Division of Student Life’s leadership team as they pass out free breakfast for the student body on Wednesday morning on the pedestrian walkway!
Then, be sure to check out Campus Event Board’s UTK Spirit Day, a new event that will feature crafts and activities focused on UT Traditions!
Rockin’ Night of Recovery
Later in the day, experience a night of music at Rockin’ Night of Recovery, a concert featuring the band Wasted Major! This first-time event will be hosted by Rocky Top Recovery Ambassadors and will raise awareness about substance misuse and mental health recovery.
Kevin Hart Show
Comedian Kevin Hart will perform live in Knoxville as a part of his Reality Check tour in Thompson Boling Arena. Tickets start at $53.50 and are available on the Reality Check Tour website.
If you can’t make it to the comedy show, then join the Student Government Association’s annual Homecoming Bonfire! Located on Fiji Island in Fraternity Park, all students are invited to celebrate homecoming with a night full of food, giveaways, a live DJ, and of course, a big bonfire! Bring your friends, make a s’more, and celebrate this annual tradition on the Thursday of Homecoming week.
A Big Orange Friday like no other, the Friday of Homecoming is a big day full of exciting events. The annual Homecoming Parade will begin at 4 p.m. and the entire Knoxville and campus community is invited to come out and watch! This year’s lineup will include the ever-popular homecoming float competition, a Tennessee Walking horse, the Little Vol walk, and our Grand Marshalls Drew and Ellie Holcomb! To best view the parade, students are encouraged to stand along Volunteer Boulevard.
Post-Parade Celebration & Free Drew Holcomb Concert
Following the parade, be sure to attend the Post-Parade Celebration at 21st Mortgage Plaza outside of the Student Union! This is a new, free event that is open to all students and alumni, as well as the public. The Celebration will include food trucks, activities, a pumpkin painting competition, and live entertainment, including the top 5 performances of Smokey’s Howel. Also part of the Post-Parade celebration is a cant-miss, free live performance from Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors!
Tailgates and the UT Martin Game
We’ve finally made it to the grand finale of Homecoming week: the football game! Cheer on the Volunteer football team as they face UT Martin at a noon kickoff in Neyland Stadium.
20th Anniversary of the Frieson Black Cultural Center
Leading up to kickoff, there are two big tailgates that students can attend for free: the 20th Anniversary of the Frieson Black Cultural Center Building Dedication Tailgate, which will take place in the HSS front lawns behind the NPHC monuments, and the Fiji Island Tailagte, hosted by the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life. The Fiji Island Tailgate will celebrate students in culturally-based student organizations and recent alumni. Both tailgates will begin four hours prior to kickoff and will feature fun, safe environments for students wanting to tailgate before the big game.
These are just a few of the more than 40 events happening during Homecoming week! For a full event list, visit homecoming.utk.edu. Happy Homecoming, Vols!
Cecilia is a senior from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee majoring in public relations with a minor in journalism and electronic media. She has a passion for writing and social media and her favorite thing about UT is all the fun traditions. She plans on pursuing a career in public relations and creative communications after graduation.