The University of Arizona Alumni Association invites all Wildcats to join its annual Homecoming Bonfire tradition this upcoming Friday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m on the west side of Old Main.
“The bonfire is not just a bonfire,” said UA Alumni Association President Melinda Burke. “[The event] sort of captures the enthusiasm and the excitement that people have for the weekend.”
This tradition, nearly a hundred years old, has been one of the most well-attended events during Homecoming week, after a brief disappearance.
Burke does not know why and how long it disappeared for, but she said that it has been successful ever since it was rekindled eight or nine years ago.
She also said that it is an event that simply brings people together.
“For me, the bonfire marks the end of our first busy day of Homecoming,” Burke said. “We all gather to enjoy the fire. We enjoy each other, we connect with friends — also for us on the staff. We love the bonfire because it’s just a wonderful feeling of community.”
UA Director of Alumni Travel and Signature Events Lisa Valentine, who is also an alumna, said that it’s truly a great event that she has been overseeing for years.
“I look forward to the bonfire every year,” Valentine said. “The only thing that makes it better is if we win the football game.”
Burke encouraged all current UA students to get out there as well.
”It’s a very special time for alums, to welcome them back to campus and help us create this wonderful, fun community that the alumni will want to come back to,” Burke said. “All these students will one day be alumni. So, I would encourage students to show up, have a good time and talk to a mom to find out what brings them back and why do they continue to come back to the U of A?”
The program begins with a Bear Down Friday Night Pep Rally celebration at Main Gate, where UA President Dr. Robert Robbins and Burke will give speeches.
There will be a march to the Old Main Fountain, where the 2018 Homecoming king and queen will be crowned and the bonfire will be lit. The Pride of Arizona marching band, Wilbur and Wilma T. Wildcat, UA cheerleaders and 2018 Homecoming court will also attend.
This year, the recent tradition of GLOW, a free party for graduates in the past five years, will be taking place after the bonfire 9 p.m. at Americano Mexicano, the new restaurant that opened up at 800 E. University Blvd.