Following the CSU Marching Band at the close of Friday’s 2008 Homecoming parade, hundreds of CSU students, alumni and community members engaged in a variety of old and new Homecoming festivities on the Lory Student Center West Lawn.
The evening culminated in traditions such as the lighting of the ‘A’ and a bonfire to fill the sky before a 15-minute display of fireworks.
The festivities lasted nearly four hours in the chilled weather of Colorado’s fall season. The excitement started on campus when the parade arrived from its traditional starting point at Mountain Avenue and Howes Street.
The parade and related events of the night featured CSU’s move to be “The Green University.” On campus were several events and booths that pointed toward CSU’s efforts to go green.
“The green theme is really gonna be Colorado State’s identity in Colorado; this is the green university,” said Dennis Lyon, a CSU alumnus from the class of 1970.
The College of Engineering set up nine booths, each with a presentation and information on the research projects and innovations that all support and help the green effort. Booths included competitive showcases for a hybrid racecar that runs off of gas and electricity and a bike built for the human-powered vehicle challenge, which attempts to address alternative modes of transportation to cars.
CSU’s Canstruction effort, a competition for the annual Cans Around the Oval food donation event, also relayed environmental support. Each of the 18 volunteering groups had a display or creation made with food cans. The winner, to be announced on Monday, will receive 500 points in the competition.
When the competition was over, Canstruction earned several hundred dollars and more than 18,000 cans.
“This is one of the best times you can have in raising food and money for an organization like The Food Bank,” said Keith Colton, the program coordinator for volunteer programs at the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement.
Aside from a green focus, athletics were highly emphasized as the age-old focus of Homecoming. Both the volleyball team and football team made an appearance to promote athletics and get Ram fans pumped for the Homecoming games.
After speeches from athletics, the 11-member CSU Steel Drum band from the College of Liberal Arts played high-pitched melodies from Trinidad and Tobago early in the night.
Following the steel drum band’s performance were the two contestants for CSU Idol, a singing competition. Cammie Kolber and Katie Beilman sang the songs featured at the football game against Texas Christian University as well as a song of their choice later in the night.
One last performance on the stage was “Break the Stage,” a dance show performed by six members of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha and the Black Student Alliance of CSU’s Black Student Services.
“There is a nice vibe here with music and festivals. It’s good to see the parents here with their kids,” Jason Bush, an anthropology graduate student, said.
As the night grew colder, hundreds of people gathered around the pile of wood crate to wait for the bonfire to start. Trained volunteer firefighters of Poudre Fire Authority’s Stations 8 and 9 ignited the great Ram tradition.
The onlookers counted down until the fire was lit. The flames rose into the sky, and fire warmed the night and surrounding crowd. The flames blew west by the gentle wind and pushed the crowd back several times.
The night concluded with the lighting of the “A” on the foothills. The “A” as lit with small fireworks of red, white and blue, burning bright for all Fort Collins to see for roughly 30 seconds.
As the “A” dimmed, a firework display lit the night for over 15 minutes. The flurry of lights blazed for the Ram community, and the audience cheered several times at the show that concluded the night.
“It was really good,” said Larry Wilson, a student of computer information systems. “The continued finale was really great and a first class show. It was very inspiring for Rams fans.”
Ken Quintana, an environmental health and science specialist, was one of many who helped to make sure everything was safe and within regulation.
After the show, Quintana said, “This was the best show we’ve ever had since I’ve ever been here.”
“I’ve never seen a time when such a big group of the Ram community came together,” D.J. O’Connor, a junior math major, said. “I am very impressed.”
Staff writer Scott Callahan can be reached at email@example.com.