2024 Homecoming Parade

September 27, 2024

On behalf of Penn State Homecoming, the Parade Committee is excited for this year’s Homecoming Parade with the theme “In Every Roar, Tradition Soars.” We hope that you will join us to celebrate one of Penn State’s oldest and most famous traditions that keeps students, faculty, staff, and alumni connected. At Homecoming, we celebrate our legacy and share our Penn State pride with all those who were, are, and will be a part of the Penn State community. The annual Homecoming Parade will take place on Friday, September 27th, 2024 at The Pennsylvania State University’s University Park campus in downtown State College, starting at 6 p.m. Register for the parade below!

Parade Registration

To sign-up to participate in this year’s Homecoming parade, visit the Forms & Applications page under Participate!

Parade History

A Penn State University alumnus, Ross Lehman, once said “traditions give a university its heart and substance.” Past students and staff across the globe feel the immense pride progressing through this school, and this is a testament to just how deep our traditions take hold of every single person to come through this University. The Homecoming Parade is the largest celebration of pride, and it reminds us every year just how “We are…Penn State.”

The first parade, deemed an “industrial parade” by the Collegian at the time, can be traced back to 1912, when a gathering was suggested by the College of Engineering in honor of a newly dedicated building. The event ended with a ceremony, wherein the Governor at the time, John K. Tener, symbolically presented a set of keys to officials in announcement of a large initiative to grow the engineering department. The University community first began to observe Homecoming festivities, though, in 1920, beginning with the first designated Homecoming Football game. This took place on October 9th of that year, with a Penn State win over Dartmouth, 17-7.

The first Parade, resembling what is done currently, came about one Saturday morning in October of 1922. The band, which was known as the “College Band” at the time, performed for the students and State College natives to celebrate Alumni Day. Over the last 100 years, the Parade has evolved into the summit of a weeklong celebration known as Homecoming Week, where all of State College’s past and present community can come together in remembrance and celebration of Dear Old State.

1931 brought on the first lawn display competition initiated by Greek organizations, and this was eventually taken over as what is now known as the Homecoming Parade Competition that includes Greek life and Independent organizations. Awards are given to credit the hard work and time spent creating the vibrant floats. The first Parade theme was created in 1947, “Know Penn State”, which brought on a new custom that was carried over for years to come.

Now, the Parade customarily occurs on a Friday preceding the Saturday home football game, and treks from the Intramural Building, through Bigler and Pollock Road, to Shortlidge Road and Downtown. Supporters line the streets waiting and watching for the festive floats and walking groups representing Greek Organizations, University Clubs, and many more notable symbols of Penn State. The Nittany Lion and the Blue Band are annual keystones of the parade, along with Homecoming Court Members, local twirling groups, and the Blue and White Society. Other notable attendees have been Keegan-Michael Key, John Urschel, Lisa Salters, Mike the Mailman, Guion Bluford, Franco Harris, and Farnoosh Torabi.

Members of the Penn State and State College community have been honoring the University and its traditions long before any recognized events were established, dating back to the 1800s. Pride is instilled in each person who has joined this community, and it has grown and culminated over the years to create the largest student run Parade in the nation, all For the Glory.

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