Bonfire brings the heat for another Homecoming Weekend
The University of Arizona Homecoming Weekend started Friday, Nov. 1, with the annual bonfire lighting up the west side of Old Main.
The event started off at Main Gate Square with Bear Down Friday, followed by a march to Old Main where they started the bonfire and the Homecoming king and queen were announced.
The bonfire has been a tradition at the UA since the early 1920s and 1930s, said Melinda Burke, UA Alumni Association president. It was discontinued for a while until it came back in 2011.
“The bonfire, to me, captures the ultimate Wildcat spirit and tradition,” Burke said. “As we stand and listen to the band and recognize royalty and we cheer on our Wildcats, this sort of captures the entire spirit as we light the bonfire. I love the passion.”
Burke also gave a speech and introduced the Class of 1969, celebrating their 50th reunion coming back to the UA.
“It is the excitement of the program, it’s the warmness of the people, it is just the place to be," said Don Ganas, an alumnus from the Class of 1969. "Really, it is the personal power enjoyment you get from it. We had nothing like this. We had some pep rallies, but nothing like this. This is fantastic.”
At 7:30 p.m., the Bobcats Senior Honorary introduced all the nominees for Homecoming court. The Homecoming king was announced to be Hunter Lindgren, a senior double majoring in marketing and business management, and the Homecoming queen was announced to be Brigid Clark, a senior majoring in nursing.
The night was filled with reunions of friends, family and alumni coming back to the UA to celebrate the university and all that it is.
“We always have a reunion at the College of Pharmacy and so we always bring the grandkids over here to see the bonfire and listen to the band. They love the band,” said Bill Hansen from the Class of 1972.
For some people, this is not their first bonfire and they come back every year to celebrate, but for others, it was a good experience to see the Wildcat spirit come alive for the first time.
Nupur Fnu and Alycia Cusson are freshmen roommates and experienced the bonfire and the festivities for the first time.
“We were excited about the Homecoming festivities,” Fnu said. “We have been seeing a lot of people hyped about Homecoming, so we were like, ‘Let’s go check it out!’”
Cusson said she found some things about her first bonfire surprising.
“We wanted a break from studying and [to] get out,” Cusson said. “We didn't realize it was going to be this hot. We dressed all bundled up because we thought it was going to be cold.”
At 7:45 p.m., the bonfire was lit by the Tucson Fire Department and everyone watched the fire burn as the Pride of Arizona Marching Band played from Old Main.
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