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Homecoming wraps Saturday; fun includes race, parade and football

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Homecoming Day starts with runners lacing up their sneakers for the Ragin’ Road Race.

The 5K will start at 8 a.m. at the Alumni Center. Runners will lope through a course that will take them past campus landmarks such as Cypress Lake, the Student Union, the Quadrangle and the semicircle in the parking lot in front of Martin Hall. A portion of the course will send runners through Girard Park, and the Oil Center, before a final leg that will lead them back to the Alumni Center.

Top finishers will be recognized in women’s and men’s categories. Top runners in different age groups will also be recognized.

First to the finish line won’t be the only skill that earns a pat on the back, said Lauren Bonnette, event chairperson. “The runner dressed most creatively in a display of Ragin’ Cajun spirit will win an award.”

An open house from 9-11 a.m. at the center will follow the race. Anyone can attend. Cheryl Stoute, who is coordinating the open house, said its main purpose, however, is to “welcome back alums so they can reminisce and find out about what’s going on campus.”

“In the past, we’ve had visitors from other states, people who haven’t been back in years. And they’re amazed. Our campus has changed so much, and it’s for the better.”

Attendees will enjoy music, food and refreshments. Parents are encouraged to bring children. Attractions include a fun jump, face painting and a balloon artist.

The Homecoming Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Blackham Coliseum. It will travel east on Johnston Street, then turn right onto St. Mary Boulevard. Convertibles carrying the queen and her court will stop in front of the Alumni Center for a toast.

The parade will feature members of student organizations, who build and decorate floats. The Pride of Acadiana Marching Band, members of the Homecoming Court, University President Dr. Joseph Savoie and alumni will also ride or walk in the parade. Alum and former Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball player Jonathan Lucroy will be grand marshal. Lucroy is a two-time Major League All-Star who plays for the Colorado Rockies.

Another Homecoming Day activity will be the Zydeco Brunch. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Cypress Lake Dining Hall in the Student Union. Diners can purchase an all-you-can-eat buffet and listen to music played by a DJ.

Fare will include scrambled eggs with cheese and chives, shrimp and tasso macaroni and cheese, creamy Creole tomato soup, chicken salad sliders, broccoli with Parmesan cream, grilled corn, crawfish pies, chocolate chip pancakes, pizza, crawfish étouffée, nachos, omelets, bread pudding and red velvet cake.

Homecoming events continue across town. The game day Cajun Walk will begin at 1:35 p.m. on Reinhardt Drive near Cajun Field.

The Pride of Acadiana Marching Band’s Ragin’ March along Stadium Way begins 3 p.m.; the band’s pregame performance will be at 3:45 p.m. at Cajun Field.

Homecoming 2017 battle between the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the New Mexico State Aggies follows. The teams will square off at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Cajun Field.

Later, the Christiana Smith African American Alumni Chapter will celebrate its annual “Sweet Sounds of Sharing.” The event will be held at 8 p.m. at the Alumni Center. Proceeds from the reception will benefit the Christiana Smith endowed scholarship fund.

Homecoming 2017 is sponsored by Home Bank.

Visit louisiana.edu/homecoming for more info, or contact Summer Hvasta, 2017 Homecoming chair, at summer.hvasta@hilton.com