We’re almost as excited as you are for your return to your home away from home! Whether you’re an alumni making the trek back for the first time in years, or a seasoned homecoming veteran, there’s new changes all across campus to see. In recent years, the university has phased in new residence halls across South Green with the newest and most innovative dorm complex located across from the Ping Center.
As much as Athens tends to remain the same, the city still experiences its share of change and innovation. There’s a good chance your favorite bar with a similar well-seasoned bench is still around town, but fortunately there’s a number of newer establishments, like Athens Uncorked, the only exclusive wine bar in town; that deserve your attention and serve your thirst all the same. This year’s theme for Homecoming follows “Same Bricks, Different Stories”, and with the number of new incoming students steadily increasing, there’s stories galore to compare to those of past Bobcats.
The University’s most well-attended event during Homecoming; this year’s Pep Rally will hear the reverberating sounds’ of Ohio’s Marching 110 echo through the valley. The Singing Men of Ohio will be making an appearance during the Pep Rally, adding their harmonious vocals to the booming cheers of the crowd. The Pep Rally is what truly signals Homecoming Weekend‘s arrival with the celebration heard from the far reaches of the university’s South Green. The rally kicks off at 6:30 PM at the Baker Center Parking Lot. Arrive head-to-toe in all the green and white and join in with the thundering cheers of past and present Bobcats alike!
The Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors and Intercollegiate Athletics is hosting a reception and awards gala on Friday night starting at 6:00 PM at Baker Ballroom. It’s a black-tie event so come dressed to impress as you join the board in celebrating the achievements and outstanding excellence of OU’s past alumni and friends.
The event that defines the better part of the weekend and highlights the partnership and cooperation that the university shares with the community; the Homecoming Parade is for those that have managed to survive the night or the ones smart enough to find their beds at a reasonable hour. Organizations from the community and in cooperation with students, pilot their colorfully decorated floats down Union Street and turn right on Court Street; where they’ll slowly meander towards the Baker Center and Park Place, where judging occurs. The parade begins at 10:30 AM Saturday morning. Spectators can expect to see an assortment of jaw-dropping, spirited banners and lively displays rumbling down the brick streets we love to call home!
Bobcat Bash at Pepsi TailGreat Park 10/10
Stand side by side your fellow Bobcat’s for THE tailgate event of the year as OHIO faces off against their cross-state rivals, Miami of Ohio. For a flat price, attendees experience music, picnic-styled lunch, beverages (and beer), with a chance to walk away with some seriously unique OHIO giveaways Tailgreat Park is conveniently located across from Peden Stadium and allows visitors an easy walk from the festivities to the game. Both the Bobcat Bash and the football game against Miami kick off at 2 PM, arrive early to experience the best of both events because this is one homecoming game you won’t want to miss.
Keep in mind…
Parking around town
As we all know too well, Athens is blessed by beauty, but cursed with very limited parking. The thought often goes overlooked when planning a visit to Athens, but we recommend looking ahead for a safe and guaranteed spot to avoid unnecessary frustration as you drive loops around Court Street. The Athens City Parking Garage is a reliable place to find parking (if you arrive in the wee hours of the morning), otherwise; the garage tends to fill up fast and stays at capacity throughout the weekend. Be aware that South Court Street will also experience closures around the times of the parade. 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM are times to avoid attempting to park on Court Street on Saturday. If you don’t mind walking, there’s additional street parking on Union and Mill Street.
Grabbin’ the best bite to eat
Back in Athens and looking to dine out at your old time favorites? Take the guess work out of food by searching through our Dining section with an extensive list of fresh and local restaurants we know you’ve missed. Interested in the unique variety of cuisines served in Athens? Luckily, there’s a restaurant or food truck for everyone. The locavore movement is found in every corner of Athens. Casa Nueva and The Village Bakery are great locations to grab a casual breakfast or lunch. Don’t have time for a sit down meal? Try visiting the Bagel Street Deli on Court, or drive down East State to find Avalanche Pizza. If you’re hungry and in Athens, you’ll come across delicious and savory meals that compliment our #Athens30MM movement without ever having to scour the streets.
Rest and recharge
Between our hotels found in town or the extensive list of cabins dotted around the county’s hillsides, there’s no end to lodging options for the big weekend! Those who have returned for previous Homecoming Weekends know that the hotels around town tend to fill quickly, but that just means to search for an intimate experience at a Bed & Breakfast or campground. Still searching for a place to lay your head after a day of Bobcat celebrations? Our Availabilities page is a great resource to find your last minute places to stay.
Avoiding the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd can be a tricky game, especially on big weekends in Athens. If you’re here for the fun, but searching for some breathing room then you might want to stop in old-time favorites such as The Smiling Skull Saloon (108 West Union St.), only a short walk down Union Street. The Skull continues to attract groups that sing along to a different college tune. The Skull is an excellent choice for a local bar not teeming with students. On days with the sun shining and blue skies ever so evident, the Smiling Skull happens to own one of the best outdoor patios, along with the patio found in the back of Jackie O’s Brew Pub (22/24 Union St.). Jackie O’s has seen strong growth over the last several years and the craft brewery continuously manages to spread the wisdom of craft beers, made from locally grown ingredients, across the state. Reserve a tour through their brewery (25 Campbell Rd.) or grab lunch at the bar for delicious meals to pair with your favorite Jackie O’s brew.
If you possess a love for craft breweries, you’ll enjoy your most recent stay to Athens more than you think, as there are two new craft breweries located in town. Devil’s Kettle (97 Columbus Rd.) churns out an amazing set of beers with dark undertones and others with light hints of hops mixed with refreshing fruits. Little Fish Brewery (8675 Armitage Rd.) takes pride in their name because they’re just that; the little fish in a growing business. They’re in full support of the locavore movement taking the town by storm; and source ingredients for their brews from local farms whenever possible.
Until then, safe travels and we’ll see you in Athens soon!