NIU’s Homecoming Block Party packs downtown DeKalb with parade, car show


Mingda Wu

The Marching Huskies leading the tune of the homecoming parade last Thursday evening on Second Street in DeKalb. (Mingda Wu | Northern Star)

DeKALB – DeKalb residents and NIU students gathered in downtown DeKalb to celebrate NIU’s 115th homecoming on Thursday.

“I am most looking forward to the community coming together to support NIU,” said Devyn Grzywa, a DeKalb resident. 

Shops that lined the main street were adorned with “Go Huskies” window paint and were open for attendees to browse, and stores even offered discounts for NIU students. At 5 p.m., 17 old-fashioned cars lined Second Street for the “Blast from the Past” car show. The oldest car on display was a red, 1929 delivery truck. People were able to get close to the cars and vote on the ones they liked best. 

The parade seemed to be the most anticipated event of the night.

“I’m looking forward to the parade. I’m just excited to see all the people,” said first-year computer science major Ariyonna McGahee. 

Students who came out with friends spoke about wanting to have a good time and to check out everything the block party had to offer. 

“I am most looking forward to meeting new people, hanging out with my friends and just having fun,” said Kassie Nketia, a first-year mechanical engineering major. 

The crowd began to build up around 6 p.m. for the “March of the Huskies” parade. NIU students and DeKalb residents packed along Locust Street as their fellow Huskies marched to the sound of cheering and screaming. NIU President Lisa Freeman led the pack in a red Mustang followed by DeKalb mayor Cohen Barnes. 

Sky Boniecki, a first-year psychology major, described how it felt to be in the parade. 

“It was really exciting, really energetic and I had a great time,” Boniecki said.

When the NIU athletes, the color guard and the marching band turned onto Second Street, the crowd watched the performance of the Huskie pep rally. 

Attendees were decked out in red and black as the Huskie fight song echoed throughout the crowd. At 7 p.m., residents joined in for the street line dance as the DJ played hit pop songs, the crowd belting out to Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.

“It (the block party) was pretty fun, and the cars were nice to look at,” said sophomore Chris Gorczowski, a computer science major.