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Homecoming can be found under the tents

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Rebecca Noble /The Daily Wildcat | The Daily Wildcat

Sorority members from the iota Tau chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority cheer as they walk through the UA's 100th Homecoming Parade on Saturday. 

Homecoming at the University of Arizona is full of decade-long traditions, one of those being people tailgating out of tents on the mall.

Lisa Valentine, the director of alumni travel and signature events for the UA Alumni Association, said there will be about 15 tents on the mall this year during the celebration on Nov. 2 that begins at 8:30 a.m.

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The Alumni Association will be hosting the Wildcat for Life Tailgate Party in their own large tent in the center of the mall. The tent will be completely free and open to the public.

According to Marc Acuña, the vice president of student and alumni engagement, the Wildcats for Life Tailgate Party will be an area in which visitors can take great pictures for Instagram.

Acuña said that they will have the cactus centerpieces from previous Dusk Music Festivals and large emoji cutouts for people to take pictures with.

The UA Bookstore will be selling merchandise in a tent, and people can find where everything is during Homecoming at a designated information tent.

“We have food, we have bars,” Acuña said. “People are really able to connect and engage. We have a nice little area for our reunion group as well to come meet, which it’s just kind of cool to be able to come and meet them and mingle. … It’s a great place to watch the parade because you’re right in the center. So, kind of look at us as that hub of Homecoming for that day.”

Jaynelle Ramon, the senior manager of digital content and strategy for alumni relations, said that one part of the Wildcat for Life Tailgate Party will be celebrating the 60th birthday of Wilbur the Wildcat.

“We’re also going to have a giant birthday banner for Wilbur that people can come and sign, that we’re going to give to him because his birthday is going to be a few days after Homecoming on Nov. 7,” Ramon said. “We’re going to have this really cute giant banner that says, ‘Happy 60th birthday, Wilbur,’ and it’s got the Homecoming graphic on there of him with a cake, and we’re going to have it set up so that people can come sign a little birthday message for him on it and then we’ll give it to him.”

According to Valentine, many UA colleges will also have their own tents on the mall.

She also said a tradition for the Homecoming tents is for the UA Black Alumni to have their tent in front of the Bear Down Gym, have a step dance competition and serve chicken and waffles.

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Valentine said a majority of these tents will invite alumni who belonged to the respective college they graduated from; therefore, they are not necessarily open to the public.

She also said some student organizations, such as sororities and fraternities, will have their own tents as well.

Valentine said that she organizes the placement of all the tents on the mall using the organization PRO EM. She said that those who want a tent on Homecoming day make their reservations with them, and then she organizes the placement of all the tents based on size so that they all fit in the mall seamlessly.


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