Tarleton State University’s 2016 Homecoming, “Texan State of Mind,” is scheduled Sunday, Oct. 16 through Saturday, Oct. 22.

A Purple Out Picnic, yell contest, parade, tailgating event and a football game are among the festivities planned as Tarleton gears up for this year’s homecoming celebration to welcome alumni and families back to campus.

Homecoming 2016 kicks off Oct. 16 with an Ignite the Night Smokestack Lighting Concert and barbecue cook-off in Heritage Park. Various student organizations begin the barbecue competition at noon followed by live music at 6 p.m., featuring Parker McCollum. The lighting of the storied Tarleton smokestack is set for 8 p.m. when the iconic landmark is bathed in purple light for homecoming week.

On Oct. 17, Tarleton’s Student Government Association (SGA) opens online polls for the student body to vote for this year’s homecoming queen. Polling takes place for three days, ending at 4 p.m. Oct. 19.

A recently formed homecoming tradition, the Launching of the Ducks, takes place at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Nursing Building reflecting pools. Sponsored by the Residential Housing Association and the Office of Student Life, the event features rubber ducks with student-inspired messages floating in the pools. The ducks will remain in the pool until Saturday.

At 7 p.m. Oct. 17, President F. Dominic Dottavio and Dr. Lisette Dottavio welcome students to Trogdon House for the annual Silver Bugle Hunt, presented by the Tarleton Ambassadors. Teams will race across campus hoping to properly answer trivia questions that lead them to the coveted hidden Silver Bugle. Teams should arrive at Trogdon House by 6:30 p.m.

Organization Day is celebrated Oct. 18, as students are encouraged to wear shirts to represent their organizations. The Tarleton Ambassadors will see the official Homecoming 2016 T-shirts from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Dining Hall patio. At 5 p.m., the School-Wide Activities Team (SWAT) hosts a Purple Out Picnic at the Dining Hall patio featuring food and music. All are invited to attend the event that includes the introduction of this year’s Homecoming Court.

On Oct. 19, Tarleton hosts the much-anticipated yell contest—an event that draws a packed house to Wisdom Gym each year when student organizations compete in performances that include step and dance moves to original chants and yells in line with the homecoming theme. The contest begins at 9 p.m. Immediately after the event, everyone is invited to participate in the Snake Dance, which leads the crowd from the gym to the Barry B. Thompson Student Center amphitheater to commence the Beating of the Drums—a time-honored tradition that continues ’round-the-clock until Saturday’s football game kickoff.

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, the Tarleton Ambassadors continue the official homecoming T-shirt sale from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the Dining Hall patio.

Homecoming festivities continue on Thursday, Oct. 20, and at 10:30 p.m., Tarleton Student Government Association welcomes students, faculty, staff and alumni to Midnight Breakfast at the Dining Hall. Free purple pancakes, sausage and eggs will be served until 12:30 a.m. All are invited to partake in this unique Tarleton tradition. The Tarleton Alumni Association (TAA) will also hold their general board meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Dining Hall. RSVP to 254-968-9682.

On Friday, Oct. 21, the TAA officially welcomes alumni back to campus when they hold registration at the Alumni Center from noon to 5 p.m. The Alumni Center is located at 343 McIlhaney St. across from the east rock gates. The TAA will provide activities for families and children from noon to 5 p.m., including inflatables, the Future Texan Kids Carnival and free refreshments. The first 500 alumni to register with the TAA receive a free Tarleton Homecoming Care Packet. The TAA also will provide an opportunity to join the Association during this time. Current members of the TAA or new members will receive a special alumni T-shirt

Also on Friday, the annual J. Dixon White Homecoming Golf Classic, presented by Tarleton’s Recreational Sports Department, tees off at 11 a.m. at Canyon West Golf Club near Weatherford. Team registration begins at 9:30 a.m. For more information about the golf tournament, call 254-968-9912. The deadline to enter a team is Friday, Oct. 7.

Friday’s homecoming activities continue at 5 p.m. with the All-Class Reunion Reception at the Tarleton Alumni Center. All alumni and their families are invited to attend, and there will be live entertainment from the Texan Gentlemen. The TAA will be honoring the Classes of 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011.

At 7 p.m., alumni and the community are invited to attend the L.V. Risinger Memorial Bonfire Celebration until 10:30 p.m. at the College Farm. Tarleton’s cheer squads, band and others open the event with a spirit rally ahead of the 9 p.m. lighting of the bonfire, built annually by the Tarleton Plowboys. During the event this year’s Homecoming King will be crowned, along with introductions of the entire 2016 Homecoming Court. There will be a tent set up at Bonfire to help give alumni a landmark in helping you find your former classmates.

Saturday’s homecoming events begin with the 9th annual “Dash Through the Decades” Memorial Homecoming 5k Run, sponsored by Recreational Sports; registration begins at 6:45 a.m. at the covered pavilion in Stephenville City Park located at 378 W. Long St. The race starts at 8 a.m., and the entry fee is $25 per runner. For more information about the 5k Run, call 254-968-0762 or visit http://www.tarleton.edu/recsports/documents/Fitness-Wellness/Regform16.pdfto download a registration form.

Alumni registration continues from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday morning at the Alumni Center, with the TAA again providing activities for families and children, including inflatables, Future Texan Kids Carnival and refreshments.

From 8-9 a.m., the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences hosts its annual Alumni Breakfast at Tarleton’s Southwest Regional Dairy Center, located at the intersection of North College Farm Road and US Hwy. 281 north of Stephenville.

The annual homecoming parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium along Harbin Drive and continues down Washington Street before turning onto McIlhaney Street and down to Vanderbilt Street.

At 2 p.m. a Texas-sized tailgate party takes place at Texan Alley, adjacent to Memorial Stadium and the Dr. Vance Terrell Intramural Complex. New tailgating policies have been implemented this year at Texan Alley. During the tailgate, fans can enjoy live music by the Bart Crow Band. Stop by the Tarleton Alumni Association tailgate for free food and drinks as well as a great time to catch up with friends. For more information or to reserve a spot for tailgating, visitwww.tarleton.edu/recsports/TexanAlley/index.html.

The Texans’ homecoming football game against Texas A&M-Kingsville kicks off at 6 p.m., and the ticket booth opens at 4 on the west side of the stadium. For ticket information, call 254-968-1832. During halftime, this year’s homecoming queen will be crowned along with a performance by Tarleton’s marching band, The Sound & The Fury, and the Texan Stars dance team.

For more information about this year’s Homecoming activities or to print a complete schedule of events, visit http://www.tarleton.edu/homecoming.