By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – With the new school year fast approaching, the University of Nebraska at Kearney is inviting the community to join its upcoming celebrations while supporting their hometown Lopers.
The first opportunity to get involved is the Blue Gold Community Showcase, an annual event featuring games, product giveaways, live entertainment and a picnic hosted by Chancellor Doug Kristensen. Part of Blue Gold Welcome Week each August, the showcase attracts 2,000 to 3,000 students and community members and typically draws about 200 vendors.
“Blue Gold Showcase is a great way for the community and campus to connect while welcoming students back from summer break,” said Tim Danube with UNK’s Office of Student Engagement. “There are so many entertaining booths and activities, and all of this fun is free.”
UNK is currently accepting registrations from businesses and organizations looking to participate in the event, scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Aug. 23 on the Campus Greens near the Bell Tower. Registration forms are available online at unk.edu/showcase. There is no cost to reserve a space.
For more information, contact the Office of Student Engagement at 308-865-8523.
Also part of Blue Gold Welcome Week, Destination Downtown is scheduled for 7-10 p.m. Aug. 29 in downtown Kearney.
This event invites UNK students to “The Bricks” for a fun-filled evening with games, product giveaways and prizes, discounts at downtown businesses, an eating contest and free concert from Lemon Fresh Day. Students are encouraged to check out local businesses and learn more about all the things Kearney has to offer.
Destination Downtown also coincides with the Kearney Night Market, which brings food trucks and a variety of vendors to the downtown business district.
Downtown businesses can register for this event at unk.edu/destinationdowntown or by contacting UNK’s First Year Program at 308-865-8291. A limited number of spots are available for businesses and organizations located outside downtown Kearney. There is no cost to sign up.
UNK will celebrate homecoming Sept. 29 through Oct. 5 with a week of events.
This year’s festivities, set to the theme “Around the World and Back to UNK,” include the state’s largest lip-sync competition, a homecoming parade and pep rally, crowning of UNK’s homecoming royalty, recognition of the newest UNK Athletic Hall of Fame inductees and the big football game against Northeastern State University.
“We invite the community to attend any of the homecoming week activities to support UNK and show their Loper pride,” Danube said. “Our relationship with the Kearney community is what makes this a truly special time of year. It’s great to see so many people sporting their blue and gold.”
The homecoming parade begins 10 a.m. Oct. 5 at the Museum of Nebraska Art in downtown Kearney and ends at Pioneer Park.
Businesses and organizations can take part by registering an entry at unk.edu/homecoming. Participation is free. For more information, call 308-865-8523.
BLUE GOLD WELCOME WEEK SCHEDULE
Friday, Aug. 23
3:50-4 p.m. – Class of 2023 parade (Campus Greens near Bell Tower)
4-5 p.m. – Welcome convocation for new students and families (Health and Sports Center)
5-8 p.m. – Blue Gold Community Showcase (Campus Greens near Bell Tower)
5:30-7 p.m. – Chancellor’s picnic (Campus Greens near Bell Tower)
7-7:30 p.m. – Pride of the Plains Marching Band exhibition (Foster Field)
9-10:30 p.m. – Playfair with activities and games for new students (Foster Field)
10:30-11:30 p.m. – Late-night doughnuts and UNK traditions for new students (Foster Field)
Saturday, Aug. 24
8:30-11 p.m. – Lopers Rock the Night with snow cones, doughnuts and music for all students (Foster Field)
Sunday, Aug. 25
5-8 p.m. – Party in the Park with dinner, sand volleyball, splash competition and other activities for all students (Harmon Park)
Thursday, Aug. 29
7-10 p.m. – Destination Downtown (Downtown Kearney)
Saturday, Sept. 7
9-11 p.m. – LPAC outdoor movie (South side of Copeland Hall)
UNK HOMECOMING SCHEDULE
Sunday, Sept. 29
1 p.m. – Soccer vs. Washburn (Cope Stadium)
Monday, Sept. 30
5 p.m. – Pep rally with announcement of homecoming royalty finalists and lawn display competition (Bell Tower)
Tuesday, Oct. 1
5:30 p.m. – Adventure Race (Bell Tower)
Wednesday, Oct. 2
5 p.m. – Loper Feud (Fine Arts Recital Hall)
Thursday, Oct. 3
7 p.m. – Lip-sync contest and royalty crowning (Health and Sports Center)
Friday, Oct. 4
11:30 a.m. – Distinguished Alumni Awards luncheon (Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room)
5 p.m. – Canned Food Build (Nebraskan Student Union courtyard)
5:30 p.m. – UNK Athletic Hall of Fame dinner (Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room)
Saturday, Oct. 5
10 a.m. – Homecoming parade (Downtown Kearney)
Noon – Loper Brews and Brats Tailgate (Cope Stadium Loperville)
2 p.m. – Football vs. Northeastern State (Cope Stadium)