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Homecoming parade 2016“Homecoming 101: Intro to Rocky Top,” UT’s celebration of 101 years of Homecoming, kicks off Sunday.

More than 40 events for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and fans are planned, culminating with the Vols football game against the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. See the full schedule of events. You can also see the schedule for alumni.

This year’s celebration provides Volunteers with opportunities to serve others and to celebrate a few big milestones: the 50th anniversary of Rocky Top and the return of the Homecoming Parade to Cumberland Avenue.

The Student Homecoming Committee will be collecting retail store gift cards of any amount to benefit schoolchildren at Pond Gap Elementary School, Vine Middle Magnet School, and Fulton High School. Donation boxes are located at the front desks of every residence hall; the Center for Student Engagement, 2227 Dunford Hall; and the Frieson Black Cultural Center, 1800 Melrose Avenue.

Students will volunteer Thursday at the YWCA and Knoxville Head Start during the Homecoming Day of Service, hosted by the Center for Leadership and Service.

Check out the Parade and Rocky Top Exhibit

The annual Homecoming parade begins at 4 p.m. Friday, November 3. For the first time in 30 years, the route returns to Cumberland Avenue. The parade begins at Circle Park and will head north on Volunteer Boulevard before turning left on to Cumberland Avenue. The parade showcases student organization floats and includes the eighth annual Little Vol Walk, featuring children ages 10 and younger riding on decorated wagons, strollers, and tricycles.

Grand marshals include Del and Dane Bryant, sons of the famous husband-and-wife songwriting team Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, who wrote the university’s unofficial fight song, “Rocky Top,” 50 years ago this year.

A post-parade celebration starts immediately following the parade and continues until 6 p.m. on Cumberland Avenue. See more details about the parade and post-parade celebration.

A grand opening of the exhibit Celebrating 50 Years of “Rocky Top” will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the first floor of Hodges Library. Special guests Del and Dane Bryant will be on hand for the celebration. The exhibit will feature the original handwritten manuscript of “Rocky Top,” the guitar used to compose the song, and other memorabilia.

Game Day Events

Along with many college-based celebrations, Homecoming’s signature Party in the Park, event begins in Circle Park at 4:30 p.m.—three hours before the football game’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The event will feature live entertainment, performances by the pep band and cheerleaders, door prizes, face painting, balloon art, and a kid’s corner with games. There is no admission fee; attendees may purchase a pre-game meal.