Louie the Loper meets Mario and Luigi during this week’s UNK homecoming celebration

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney is celebrating homecoming this week, and all of your favorite characters are sure to be there.

From Louie the Loper to Mario and Luigi, this is an adventure nobody wants to miss.

Set to a “Press Play at UNK” video game theme, the festivities begin Monday and continue through Saturday, giving campus and community members a chance to showcase their creativity and school pride.

“UNK homecoming is such a fun time of year. The campus community energizes as students, staff and faculty participate in spirit week competitions and events, and the opportunities to connect with each other are plentiful as we celebrate traditions, enjoy Loper life and welcome back alumni,” said Renae Zimmer, director of student engagement.

Homecoming week officially begins 5:15 p.m. Monday with a pep rally at the Bell Tower on campus. Eight finalists for UNK homecoming royalty will be announced during that event, followed by window decorating at downtown businesses.

The state’s largest lip-sync contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in the Health and Sports Center, where student groups will perform choreographed dances tied to this year’s theme. The public is invited to watch this entertaining competition, which is immediately followed by the crowning of the homecoming king and queen.

A UNK and community tradition, the annual homecoming parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Kearney. Nearly 100 businesses, nonprofits, schools and UNK organizations are participating in the event, with awards presented to the best marching bands and most creative floats.

The parade route starts at the intersection of 24th Street and Central Avenue and progresses south on Central Avenue, west on Railroad Street, north on Third Avenue, west on 21st Street, south on Eighth Avenue and west on 20th Street before ending at Ninth Avenue near Pioneer Park.

For those who can’t attend in person, livestreams of the lip-sync competition, royalty crowning and homecoming parade will be available at unk.edu/watch.

Of course, it wouldn’t be homecoming without Loper athletics.

The 10th-ranked UNK volleyball team faces rival Fort Hays State at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Health and Sports Center, and Loper women’s soccer hosts Missouri Western at 7 p.m. Friday at Cope Stadium.

The UNK football game is 2 p.m. Saturday, when Washburn visits Cope Stadium. The UNK Alumni Association is hosting its annual “Brews and Brats Tailgate” beginning at noon, and there will be live music and other activities outside the stadium. Homecoming royalty and UNK Athletic Hall of Fame inductees are recognized during the game, and the UNK Sapphires Dance Team and Pride of the Plains Marching Band perform.

Other homecoming activities include the Distinguished Alumni Awards Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Friday in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room; the One Room, One Teacher induction ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the College of Education building; and the Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet and induction ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Ponderosa Room.


Monday, Sept. 25
5:15 p.m. – Pep rally and royalty reveal (Bell Tower) and window decorating (Downtown Kearney)

Tuesday, Sept. 26
5 p.m. – Adventure Race (Bell Tower/Campus Greens)
6 p.m. – Loper volleyball vs. Fort Hays State (Health and Sports Center)

Wednesday, Sept. 27
5 p.m. – Loper Feud (Student Union, Ponderosa Room)

Thursday, Sept. 28
7 p.m. – Lip-sync competition and royalty crowning (Health and Sports Center)

Friday, Sept. 29
11:30 a.m. – Distinguished Alumni Awards Luncheon (Student Union, Ponderosa Room)
2:30 p.m. – Chemistry Department Don Fox Lecture (Copeland Hall 131)
3:30 p.m. – One Room, One Teacher Ceremony (College of Education Atrium)
5 p.m. – Smoothie competition (South of Student Union)
5:30 p.m. – Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet (Student Union, Ponderosa Room)
6 p.m. – ROTC Alumni Social (American Legion, 1223 Central Ave.)
7 p.m. – Loper soccer vs. Missouri Western (Cope Stadium)

Saturday, Sept. 30
10 a.m. – Homecoming Parade (Downtown Kearney)
Noon – Brews and Brats Tailgate (Loperville, Cope Stadium)
2 p.m. – Loper football vs. Washburn (Cope Stadium)
6 p.m. – ROTC Alumni Banquet (Younes Conference Center South, 416 W. Talmadge Road)