Cougar fans turn out for Homecoming events

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Despite the weather being overcast, spirits soared high as people turned out to celebrate BYU’s Homecoming over the weekend. Red noses and cold toes didn’t stop anyone from bleeding blue.

“The community came out and showed lots of spirit and enthusiasm,” said Andrew Wilcox, a sophomore from Seattle. “Even people who were dead tired and freezing were still smiling and having a good time.”

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The BYU Homecoming Parade features President Cecil O. Samuelson, the marching band, dance companies, athletes, clubs, and much more.

Saturday started off early with the free pancake breakfast. BYUSA served blue pancakes with chocolate chips topped with a “Y” made of whipped cream. Stations were set up all over campus and were all filled with cougar blue: blue-stained gloves, blue shirts, blue table cloths and blue pancake mix that spilled on the ground.

“I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the blue pancakes that make people happy,” said Troy Leininger, a BYU student majoring in industrial design.

As people started to line the streets and wait for the parade, they cheered on all 300 participants in the Cougar Run who passed by.

“The Cougar Run gets people out sharing Cougar pride even when it’s cold,” said sophomore Maren Harper. “If you didn’t do it this year, come next year. It’s more enjoyable doing it then watching it.”

The Cougar Run followed the Kids’ Run, where 150 children came out to show their BYU pride. The youngest participant was only 1-year-old and ran in the 200-meter event. Brandon Hebbert ran to first place in a time of 15.14.3 in the men’s 5k, while Maggie Roper took first in the women’s 5k with her time of 18.04.4.

This year’s Homecoming Parade kept people on their feet and anticipating more. Students were chanting “Homecoming! Homecoming!” and people of all ages cheered as they got to see Cosmo on his Cosmobile. Other festivities included Smokey the Bear, a pack of llamas, the biggest cougar in Provo and many oversized, colorful balloons.

“I love BYU and why not come to the Homecoming Parade, you gotta live it,” said Greg Haws, a BYU accounting professor. “What else do you have to do? Sleep? Homework? You’re going to miss out.”

Many families came out with their matching BYU hats and sweatshirts to experience a taste of Cougar pride.

“It’s nice to be a part of the community and coming to the parade helps with the Provo experience,” said the Nimer family from Provo. “It’s a fun family activity and it’s become a tradition that our kids look forward to.”

Fans didn’t wait too long after to get started on the next event of the day, which they had to organize themselves. Tailgaters pulled into the stadium parking lot six hours before the game and didn’t waste any time on setting up TV screens and grills.

Jackson Unga, father of two sons who have suited up for the football team — Harvey and Victor Unga, whose currently serving a mission, started tailgating in 1979 and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. The Unga’s homecoming game menu consisted of Teriyaki chicken, two roasted pigs, steak, ribs, chili, pork chops, sticky rice, macaroni salad and more.

To celebrate Homecoming, the Ungas added two flat screen TVs, a live DJ, lights and a large Disco ball to have a dance for anyone who wanted to join.

“We’re here to support the team and enjoy the comradery,” Unga said. “Come! We’re always here on the southeast corner of the stadium and setting up hours before.”

Just south of the stadium the band and fans came out to enjoy booths, food, games and live music before kickoff.

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