Northern Star




Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student news organization since 1899


Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

116th Homecoming to take over downtown

Mingda Wu
NIU mascot Victor E. Huskie rides atop a convertible, greeting the crowd viewing the March of the Huskies, for the 115th homecoming celebrations Thursday night on Second Street in downtown DeKalb. (Northern Star File Photo)

Editor’s note: This piece has been corrected to reflect that Night at Holmes will be held Oct. 12; Cortney Strohacker’s position is a committee member not co-chair of the Homecoming Committee; and NIU has the longest running homecoming and is not the oldest university to celebrate homecoming.


DeKALB – NIU plans for this year’s 116th homecoming to be “monumental,” packed with a week of celebration to leave Huskies exhausted with school pride.

From Oct. 8 to Oct. 15, NIU plans to have a week of homecoming events for Huskie pack members new and old, as well as members of the DeKalb community.

These events include a “Kick Off” event on Oct. 9 at the MLK commons where a variety of tailgate themed food will be available. 

A new event will be held, a tasting from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13 at Jonamac Orchard, 19412 Shabbona Road, with the Bold Spirits of DeKalb County. Tasters 21 years of age and over will be given Huskie themed cocktails made from local distillers, a Bold Spirit glass and a performance from Genoa musician Wally Mulso.

Unlike last year’s block party, the part of Lincoln Highway in downtown DeKalb is planned to be shut down from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 12 for this year’s block party. The party will include a pep rally, food trucks, classic car show, kid’s zone and parade through the block party dubbed the “March of the Huskies.” 

There will also be discounts available at participating Huskie Host businesses during the block party, which will be announced closer to the event.

The culmination of the block party will be the unveiling of a new statue that will have permanent residence in downtown DeKalb.

Taya Finner, a senior sociology major, said she enjoyed her time at homecoming during her sophomore and junior years. Putting more activities in a single day is a better way to make it more monumental and better to gather with friends and family.

“Getting together with friends, a lot of the time we can hang out together, but it’s more of a ‘homecoming’ thing when your friends are here. When you have friends that are from home or aren’t from here,” Finner said. “Going around the campus, enjoying the campus life, showing them your campus life and showing them what NIU has to offer.”

Each day of homecoming week contains a different event that promises to have something available for everyone of all ages whether they are a student, faculty, staff, alumni or community members.

Other events include the Huskies S’mores N’more bonfire at 7 .p.m.on Oct. 13. in the MLK commons, at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 14 brunch with Victor E. Huskie and Mission III and later on at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 14 the homecoming football game between the Huskies and Ohio University Bobcats.

Oct. 12 the Holmes Student Center will have Night at Holmes featuring painting with local artist Chelsea McGhee and more events to be announced.

Certain events for the week of homecoming require prior registration. Events that require this include Huskie Hour with DeKalb County Bold Spirits; Pizza, Paint and Sip with Chelsea McGhee Studio; and Brunch with Mission and Victor E. Huskie. Interested parties can visit the NIU Homecoming website and search under ticket sales.

The planning done for this week of homecoming events is a committee made up of representatives of each of NIU’s divisions and the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

Cortney Strohacker, executive director of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau and homecoming committee member, said that for local businesses to partner with NIU is a great opportunity.

“Some of those businesses that may have trouble getting exposure regularly, it really is a great benefit for them to be all over the place for homecoming,” Strohacker said.

NIU has the longest-running homecoming in the state of Illinois, according to Matt Streb, chief strategy officer for NIU and Homecoming chairman. This homecoming theme is about celebrating the community of NIU, not just students and alumni but the city of DeKalb. 

“We want people who are in the community to come back to campus and explore NIU and become involved and take part in the activities, even if they’re not alumni. They’re an important part of our community,” Streb said. “It really is for anybody who has a love and a passion about NIU”.

For more information on NIU’s homecoming week celebration including times and prices of events visit the NIU homecoming website.

More to Discover