This weekend, Homecoming producers hope to weave a new tradition in with Gator fans’ old favorites.
On Friday, the staff will unveil the first Homecoming festival on the Plaza of the Americas.
The event is designed to entertain students and alumni beginning at 10 a.m., said Santiago Ramirez, associate producer of communications for Gator Growl.
"We’re all the footprints of the Swamp," he said.
Both new and returning SunTrust Gator Gallop runners will end the annual Homecoming 5K run at the festival on the Plaza this year.
"We wanted something else — something more inclusive," Ramirez said.
The festival will feature carnival games, a bounce house and a disc jockey.
Ramirez, 21, said the festival will resemble a carnival more than a tailgate, and alcohol will not be served.
"We’re really trying to create a family-friendly environment," he said.
Ramirez said local businesses and Dance Marathon will set up booths. They will donate $500 in cash or give the equivalent in merchandise to go toward Gator Gallop prizes and carnival-game winners.
Nicole Corder, a UF biology freshman, said she is excited to participate in Friday’s festivities.
She’ll stop by the Plaza before marching with UF Best Buddies in the parade at noon.
"I figured that it’s just something everyone should do once," the 18-year-old said.
Ramirez said he hopes the event will encourage students to leave a legacy at UF.
"It’s honestly all about the Gators," he said.