2020 has been a year unlike any other. Regardless of the challenges that have been posed to campus life, the University of Florida Homecoming is back and… The Gator Still Growls. Established in 1923, Growl has become a staple of the University of Florida and we have preserved a long-standing tradition by deciding to celebrate homecoming this fall, even if it looks a little different than usual.
Starting today, Oct. 2, the Homecoming season will last three weeks. We are committing to seeking out and celebrating the positives during this season, and we remain dedicated to connecting to the rest of the student body and Gator Nation, regardless of current circumstances. The 97th Homecoming Celebration at the University of Florida will be reimagined this year to support the health and safety of our community and ensure Gators near and far are able to participate. Our new format will allow us to celebrate all of the reasons we love being Gators for a longer time period and from a safe distance.
Gator Gallop presented by Truist, the Homecoming Leadership Pageant, and Soulfest will all be held virtually. Anyone can participate in Gator Gallop presented by Truist, regardless of where they are located. Participants may pick the distance and course they want to complete and will have two weeks to complete it. By paying for registration, each participant will receive a limited-edition Gator Gallop presented by Truist shirt, an engraved race medal, and a printable race number. On the same note, the Leadership Pageant and Soulfest will be performed and filmed at the Phillips Center and then streamed virtually. The Leadership Pageant will premiere on Oct. 12 and Soulfest will premiere on Oct. 18.
The Homecoming Parade will not be a traditional parade this year, as it will not have a designated route. Nevertheless, a “parade from home” will be executed by encouraging campus organizations and local businesses to decorate their properties with items that embody Gator values. Students and Gainesville residents are encouraged to hop in a car with their close friends and family and take a tour around the city filled with Gator pride.
Thought we forgot about Gator Growl? Absolutely not! In lieu of an in-person show during UF’s 2020 Homecoming Celebration, we will be producing a video that will be shared online, focused on the rich traditions that have built the Gator Nation! Highlights of the video montage will showcase some of the most memorable moments from previous Gator Growl shows and will premiere Oct. 23.
In a time of such uncertainty, it is important now more than ever, for us to come together and support one another. You will always be a part of the Gator family, from near or far. We each have a unique and powerful story, and UF Homecoming and Gator Growl is meant to highlight and value what makes us special and what connects us, and this year’s celebration will do just that. The Gator Nation is strong and resilient, and together we will show the world what it truly means to be a Gator. Please help us by following Homecoming / Gator Growl @hcgatorgrowl on social media and engaging with us this year!
For more information on how to watch the Leadership Pageant, Soulfest, and how to participate in the Homecoming Parade, check out our website at www.gatorgrowl.org for updates.