Homecoming Week at the University of Florida is more than your average pep rally. With games and galas, parades and pageants, philanthropy, and festivals, it is said to be the largest student-run pep rally in the world. More than 500 student volunteers work for thousands of hours to coordinate the night of festivities for the University of Florida community. Producers, directors, assistant directors, and staff members are in charge of the production, execution, promotion, and dismantling of the show. (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!)
Dating back to 1916, the goal, of course, is to motivate the Florida Gators to victory in their Homecoming football game. Events feature performances from the UF Dazzlers, the University of Florida cheerleaders, and The Pride of the Sunshine marching band as well as national celebrity artists.
Tickets sell fast and hotel rooms book quickly, as with all football weekends, so make plans as soon as possible. For updates and more details, visit https://www.gatorgrowl.org/
2021 Schedule for Homecoming + Gator Growl
SEPTEMBER 27, 2021
Homecoming Leadership Pageant
Location: University Auditorium
Time: 7PM - 9PM
More than a beauty or popularity contest, UF's Homecoming pageant is more about leadership. The Homecoming court is selected based on points earned for their campus involvement as well as academic, philanthropic and leadership endeavors
On the night of the pageant, there is an opening performance, a Gator spirit portion, a business dress round (that's right - no formal wear) and an interview session round. The Homecoming Pageant is a platform for UF students to represent 50,000 plus students and countless alumni. After selection, the homecoming court will consist of six students with two winners: king and queen. The entire court gets to stand in front of 90,000 fighting Gators on Steve Spurrier Field the night of the homecoming football game.
"It's not about who has the most leadership positions, it's about whether their impact on campus can be really felt," stated Sydney Brandenburg, the 2019 director of the UF Homecoming Pageant, in a 2019 article in alligator.org.
OCTOBER 8, 2021
Location: The parade will start at the intersection of Museum Road and 13th Street, continue North on 13th Street until University and head down University Avenue.
Time: 12 noon
Kick off the homecoming festivities with the largest student-run parade in the nation. With over 120 organizations participating ranging from local charities, businesses, and student organizations, the homecoming parade is a Gainesville favorite. Gainesville schools and UF are closed for the community to come out and enjoy an afternoon on the lawn of University Ave.
The parade route for 2021 is new. The parade will start on the intersection of Museum Road and 13th Street, continue North on 13th Street until University and head down University Avenue.
Start Location: University of Florida
Register here for the race (in-person or virtual options available)
Start off the homecoming weekend with UF's favorite 2 mile fun-run: Truist Gator Gallop. Following the homecoming parade on Friday, Gators from across the nation run alongside alumni, students, faculty and family, to celebrate the beginning of the homecoming festivities. Experience UF's campus through the scenery of University Avenue by running, walking, jogging, or strolling with friends.
Location: Plaza of Americas on the UF campus
Time: After the parade and Gator Gallop end
Following the homecoming parade and the Gator Gallop, alumni, students, friends and spectators, can lounge around Plaza of Americas on the UF campus and enjoy the Homecoming Festival. During the event, participants are able to bounce in bounce houses, buy from vendors, listen to live music and engage with many different student organizations.
Location: Stephen C. O'Connell Center
Time: Doors open at 5pm.
Tickets: Students $25 and general public $40
Gator Growl is a show produced by students for students and alumni. In its long history, Gator Growl has been recognized by Good Morning America, Comedy Central, Entertainment Tonight and was even featured as an answer on Jeopardy!. This is the grand event of the week-long pep rally featuring guest speakers, football players, special guests, the crowing of the King and Queen, and musical performances. Performers have included Snoop Dog (2017), Ludacris (2014), Goo Goo Dolls (2011), Robin Williams (1982), Dave Chapelle (1998), Bob Hope (1979, 1983) and many, many more talented artists. Produced by Florida Blue Key with artists funded by Student Government Productions, the 2021 event will feature the alternative rock band Neon Trees and rap artist Gunna.
OCTOBER 9, 2021 - GAME DAY!
Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Florida Gators football game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
OCTOBER 10, 2021
Location: Reitz Grand Ballroom at the Reitz Student Union (click for map)
Time: 7pm - 9:30pm
Soulfest is a night soaked in diverse talent and energy that expresses art and culture from the UF and Gainesville communities. It is a night for organizations across the board to showcase their finest dance moves, singing voices, and school spirit. Soulfest seeks to inspire, teach and connect all people from all walks of life under the umbrella of being a Gator. Soulfest is a free event that welcomes all Gators, providing a night of good food, good talent, and good conversation.
For more information, tickets and to apply to participate as a sponsor, vendor, candidate, or volunteer, visit GatorGrowl.org.
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