'Carnival and Gold' homecoming events extend for a week

Homecoming 2023 logo Carnival and Gold

"Carnival and Gold" is the 2023 homecoming theme. Events begin Sunday, Oct. 29, and conclude with the tailgate and football game against Big 12 Conference opponent Kansas on Saturday, Nov. 4; start time is pending.

Student co-director Adam Wolf, a junior in construction engineering, said homecoming is about creating the broadest reach possible to celebrate what makes Iowa State University a great place.

"Students have been working on this since November, and we really would love to see as many people as possible get involved in some piece of homecoming," Wolf said. "Come out and enjoy the week."

Below are a few suggestions for faculty and staff to join the celebration. Events are free and open to the Ames community unless noted. A complete homecoming schedule is online.

Sunday carnival

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The kickoff event is Sunday, Oct. 29 (noon-2 p.m., lot A-4 outside the Alumni Center). Enjoy stage performances and displays by student clubs and groups, free popcorn and cotton candy, a petting zoo and the ISU scale model carillon. Food will be available for purchase from three food trucks.

Food on campus (FOC)

Homecoming week lunch will be served on central campus Monday through Thursday (11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., while supplies last). A faculty-staff line will be open from noon to 1 p.m. daily. Leave your business card each time you attend for a chance to win a prize prior to the Friday evening pep rally (must be present to win). The Friday meal will be at the Alumni Center during the pep rally.

You'll need a homecoming button to eat. Buttons are $5 and can be purchased at the ISU Book Store or at the lunch tent. This year's caterers are:

  • Monday: Jimmy John's
  • Tuesday: Grilled hot dogs
  • Wednesday: Hickory Park
  • Thursday: Tropical Smoothie Café
  • Friday evening: Pizza Ranch

Your homecoming button also will get you a 15% discount at the 1858 Innovate shop, Student Innovation Center, Oct. 30-Nov. 3 (10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily).

Yell Like Hell skits

The student spirit competition featuring original cheer skits and gallons of body paint opens Monday, Oct. 30 (4 p.m., central campus). Fifteen teams will compete in the first round (minus the paint), which is narrowed to eight teams for the second elimination round on Wednesday, Nov. 1 (6 p.m.), also on central campus. Finally, three Yell Like Hell finalists will perform at Friday's pep rally.

Honors and awards

The 92nd annual honors and awards ceremony, at which the ISU Alumni Association, Memorial Union and colleges will recognize the service of 40 alumni and university friends, is Friday, Nov. 3 (1:30 p.m., Stephens Auditorium, a dessert reception follows). It's open to the public and will be livestreamed.

Bags for scholarships

Faculty, staff and alumni are invited to compete in a bags tournament on Friday (3:30-5:30 p.m., outside the Alumni Center). The entry fee is $20 per team (cash or check, payable at the door). Proceeds support the Cardinal Court scholarships, which recognize two Iowa State seniors with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 who have shown high character and dedication to the university and city of Ames. Register your team online.

Celebration and pep rally

Homecoming happy hour on Friday (4:30-5:30 p.m., Alumni Center) features drink specials and light snacks. From 4 to 4:30 p.m., all ISU faculty and staff are invited to the second-floor Reiman Ballroom for a free drink ticket and the prizes drawing using the business cards collected during the week at FOC. After the drawings, faculty and staff in attendance who are ISU Alumni Association members will receive an exclusive winter beanie.

At 6 p.m. outside the Alumni Center, pizza will be served to all with a homecoming button and the pep rally begins, emceed by alumni association president and CEO Jeff Johnson. It will feature the Cyclone marching band, Yell Like Hell finals and Cardinal Court presentation. Senior vice president for student affairs Toyia Younger will recap the university's Jack Trice commemoration year.

Inside the Alumni Center, find giveaways, kids activities, a cash bar and merchandise sale by the ISU Book Store.

ExCYtment in the Streets

This homecoming spirit competition in the Greek area south of campus has returned to Friday evening (8-10 p.m.) at the request of alumni who couldn't enjoy its Thursday slotting last year. In 15 teams, 41 Greek organizations will present four lawn displays and skits, repeated at intervals during the evening. Another 11 "pomping" 2D displays can be viewed in the 200 block of Ash Avenue. Sandwich boards in the neighborhood will direct visitors to the four display/skit lawns. Enjoy free food and carnival games at the "Greek triangle" where Sunset Drive meets Pearson Avenue.