IOWA CITY, Iowa -- As Jake and Elwood Blues said, "We're getting the band back together."
The UI alumni marching band made its Homecoming parade debut in 1973, and tonight the gang will make its 40th trip through the streets of downtown Iowa City as part of the 100th anniversary of UI Homecoming. The parade starts at 5:45 p.m., and when it does, 1986 UI graduate Jim Berg will march down Washington Street for the 26th straight year.
"I absolutely love it," said Berg, who played the mellophone in the Iowa marching band from 1982-86 before joining the annual reunion tour in 1987. "It's a blast getting everyone back together and playing old songs. I wouldn't miss it."
Berg will be guided through the parade route by his wife, Karen (Weber) Berg, who was a flag girl in the marching band before graduating in 1990.
"It's a great family weekend," said Jim Berg. "My wife hasn't missed the parade since graduating. It's absolutely something we always look forward to."
Somewhere behind or in front of the Bergs, parade goers will also be greeted by candy-carrying members of the Iowa men's and women's basketball, gymnastics and rowing teams.
"I love the tradition," said senior Morgan Johnson, who has walked in the homecoming parade as a member of the women's basketball team every year since 2009. "It's an honor for us to be a part of it, and it's a great chance to support the community and give back to the fans that support us throughout the year."
Following the parade, the downtown campus will host the homecoming king and queen coronation before entertaining the crowd with a free concert featuring musical performances by Matt & Kim, and Grand Funk Railroad.
And, of course, throughout the entire weekend Homecoming patrons will be treated to a number of athletic events west of the Iowa River, including the granddaddy of homecoming activities, the 101st Homecoming football game.
FOOTBALL vs. Minnesota: Iowa will play its 101st Homecoming football game Saturday when Minnesota visits Kinnick Stadium for an 11:01 a.m. kickoff. The Hawkeyes have won their last three Homecoming contests and own a 54-41-5 all-time record in Homecoming games. Saturday's game also marks the battle for the Floyd of Rosedale, the traveling bronze pig awarded to the winner of the annual meeting between the two schools.
VOLLEYBALL vs. Michigan and Michigan State: The Hawkeyes open their Big Ten home schedule Friday and Saturday night on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa hosts Michigan on Friday before entertaining No. 24 Michigan State on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. Fans attending either match will receive free schedule posters and magnets. On Friday, the first 50 UI students with valid ID will be treated to free ice cream. Saturday's match has been designated as Camper Reunion Night. Fans are also encouraged to use their football ticket stub from Iowa's game against Minnesota for free admission to Saturday night's match. A Kids Zone will also be available featuring giant board games. Admission to volleyball matches is $5 for adults and free for UI students and children 18 and younger.
FIELD HOCKEY vs. Ohio State: Tracey Griesbaum will aim for her 150th career win as Iowa's head coach when the 11th-ranked Hawkeyes host No. 18 Ohio State on Sunday at Grant Field at 12 p.m. Admission is free and the first 50 fans in attendance will receive a free GRANT t-shirt. The UI sports marketing staff will also give fans a chance to win a pair of tickets to the 2012 Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament, hosted by the University of Iowa from Nov. 1-4.
BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL: As the MLB calendar approaches the stage for October heroics, the Hawkeye men and women have busted out the bats for the final weekend of September. The softball team hosts Muscatine Community College on Friday at Pearl Field at 6 p.m. The baseball team hosts Black Hawk Community College at Duane Banks Field on Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission to both events is free.
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The UI volleyball team opens its home B1G schedule tonight against Michigan... click HERE for the match notes.