‘Montana Strong’: It’s Homecoming Week 2018 at University of Montana

The University of Montana Alumni Association invites all alumni and the Missoula community to celebrate Homecoming week 2018 Oct.1-6. This year’s theme is “Montana Strong.”

Festivities begin with the Homecoming Kickoff Celebration from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, in the JCPenney Court in Southgate Mall. Participants can grab a Griz football team poster and tattoos, meet Monte, dance with the UM Spirit Squad and UM Drum Line, and enter to win the Great Griz Game Day Package.

The celebration continues from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, with the traditional Hello Walk painting on the sidewalk outside Turner Hall. UMAA will provide paint and brushes, and members of the public are invited to join students and alumni.

Volunteers also may register online to help paint the M  from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5. Volunteers must be 18 years or older and can enjoy Big Dipper ice cream and hot dogs in the Phyllis Washington Park afterward.

The Lommasson Center again will hold a Homecoming Buffet Dinner open to the public at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in the Food Zoo. The cost is $8.80 per person.

Also that evening, Draught Works Brewery will host a Homecoming Griz on Tap Social from 5 to 7 p.m. at 915 Toole Ave.

Five Distinguished Alumni Award recipients will be honored at a ceremony and reception at 5:30 pm. Friday, Oct. 5, in the University Center Ballroom. This year’s Distinguished Alumni are Evelyn Adedoja Yeye Dada, Paul Lewing, William Marcus, Sara Peck and Sheila Skemp.

The annual Yell Night Pep Rally will begin at 8 p.m. on the Oval that evening, followed by the lighting of the M. The community can join the Griz football team, Forestry Club, UM Marching Band, Spirit Squad and Monte for a bonfire, Singing on the Steps and a fireworks display. Free popcorn and soda will be provided.

New this year, luminaria may be purchased online in honor of an alum to be lit during the Pep Rally.

An All-Alumni Social also will run Friday night from 7 p.m. to midnight with live music, food and a no-host bar at the Holiday Inn in Downtown Missoula. The UM Alumni Band will perform, as well as the Alumni Jazz Band and the UM Marching Band.

The 11th annual Homecoming Hustle 5K race will begin at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Higgins and Broadway, just before the parade. Register for the Homecoming Hustle online by Oct. 4. The $28 fee includes a T-shirt, BBQ and beverages at the finish line.

The Homecoming Parade starts at 10 a.m. and travels south on Higgins to University Avenue. This year’s honorary parade marshals are Betsy and Warren Wilcox and Cheryl and Mark Burnham.

The community may enjoy food, beverages and raffles at the All-Alumni Homecoming Tailgate from noon to 2 p.m. in Lot 2 in the River Bowl North, right before the Montana Grizzlies face-off against Portland State University at 2 p.m. in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Homecoming activities are fully funded by the UM Alumni Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and its dedicated members and sponsors.

For a complete and updated schedule of Homecoming events, visit https://grizalum.org/events/Homecoming/default.php or call the UM Office of Alumni Relations at 406-243-5211.