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Homecoming 2017 packed with talent contest, food drive – and hypnosis

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Dances, trances, sharing and wearing red are on the Homecoming 2017 agenda.

Tuesday and Wednesday of Homecoming Week include events that highlight the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s talent, its big heart and its favorite color. 

And there’s a hypnotist, too.

The “Cajuns Got Talent” contest is set for 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Cajundome Convention Center.

The event is a new addition to Homecoming roster, said Karli Sherman, assistant director of the University Program Council’s Office of Student Engagement and Leadership. The office coordinates student-led Homecoming events.

Previous years have featured karaoke contests where students rewrote popular songs with UL Lafayette-themed lyrics. Often, these performances included backup dancers as well.

The “Cajuns Got Talent” event aims to showcase student talent beyond singing and dancing, Sherman said.

“One of the goals of the student organizers this year was to make Homecoming more inclusive of the student population. They wanted this to be a full talent show where participants could do any type of performance.”

Students can attend free with a University ID. The audience can expect student-made videos, a drag performance, and solo and group acts. “There will be a pretty good variety,” Sherman said.

Judges will select first-, second- and third-place finishers.

Professional comedian Julian McCullough, who has appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “Conan” and “Comedy Knockout,” will act as the show’s master of ceremonies. He’ll do his comedy set to cap off the evening.

A canned food drive and a performance by Chicago-based hypnotist Chris Jones will bookend Wednesday’s Homecoming events.

The Cajuns Can Care Food Drive is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Boucher Street. Wear Red, Get Fed – where students sporting the University’s premier color will receive a free lunch – will be held in conjunction.

Donations will be given to FoodNet Food Bank in Lafayette. In years past, participants have filled multiple box trucks with canned and nonperishable food items, Sherman said.

“This is a way for our students, faculty and staff to give back to the community. With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, it’s important to stock the pantry’s shelves so they can help families enjoy the holiday season.”

Donations from student organizations, academic departments, University staff and individual students will be accepted.

Students who attend the food drive while wearing red can fill up on barbecued hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, salad and brownies, while supplies last. There’ll be music, too.

Wear Red, Get Fed ensures students who can’t attend nighttime events catch the Homecoming spirit as well, Sherman said.

One of those evening events is a performance by hypnotist Chris Jones. It’s set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Union’s Bayou Bijou theater. Students get in with a University ID.

Jones appeared in Season 10 of “America’s Got Talent.” Sherman said she saw his act a few years ago. Unlike other performers she’d seen, who lulled individuals into a trance, Jones simultaneously hypnotized multiple people, including audience members.

Jones peppers his stage routine with pop culture references that connect him to collegiate audiences, Sherman said.

“He’s young, energetic and very exciting. The students respond well to him.”

Visit louisiana.edu/homecoming for the full slate of Homecoming 2017 events.


Photo caption: Chicago-based hypnotist Chris Jones will bring his act to the Bayou Bijou theater Wednesday as part of Homecoming Week activities. (Courtesy photo)