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Homecoming 2019: A Rearview Mirror Special Feature

Asking all those fundamental questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

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Pit row of an unknown Mini 500 team in an unknown year.
Georgia Tech Archives/Georgia Tech Photograph Collection (

If you read the comments, you might be expecting something else in this space this week. Well, I forgot that we had to bump it back in order to chat about the best home game of the year - homecoming. With festivities beginning to ramp up here on campus, it’s high time to get this in front of the good people of From the Rumble Seat, so be sure to block your schedule for a classic Saturday feature in the Wreck Parade, an early start for the brave of heart in the Freshman Cake Race, or the thrilling turns of the Friday night Mini 500. And we’ll chat about Tech and the 1963 SEC next week.

Before we begin, I really like how I put it last year when I was talking about the Freshman Cake Race. Homecoming at Tech is different than the usual history content we talk about here - stuff that can feel pretty isolated from the modern day, if you let it. But traditions, well, they still live with us today. And never is that more apparent than the hectic, though deeply meaningful week we are about to experience.

“I’ll be the first to admit I filled out the bill of my RAT cap wrong. Upside down, to be exact. The first time I tuned in to watch my one of my childhood heroes, Iman Shumpert, don the white and gold, playing for “those bees,” I couldn’t have told you what Georgia Tech was. It’s easy to make fun of outsiders for referring to the Institute with one of the countless misnomers appended to the school on North Avenue, but that was also me - not realizing the Georgia Institute of Technology was the same thing as the Georgia Tech I saw on ESPN was a phase that lasted longer than I’d personally care to admit. But that’s thing about Tech, in general - we all come to it in different ways, at different times in our lives, and from massively different backgrounds. Whether you’re a dear old Oak Parker from the suburbs of Chicago like me, and, let’s face it, you’re definitely not, or someone that grew up with old gold running through your veins from before you were born, Tech means something a little different to each of us. That’s why Tech’s traditions, even more so than the Institute’s history, are things that affect each person that experiences them in astoundingly tangible ways, and, critically, on a deep personal level.”

Homecoming Event Schedule:

Investiture of Ángel Cabrera

Monday, October 28th, 10:30 AM - Ferst Center for the Arts (Ceremony)
Monday, October 28th, Immediately Following the Ceremony - Tech Green (Party)

I added this one first because Tech is officially installing Ángel Cabrera as its newest president in a formal ceremony this coming Monday, and consequently throwing a large party on Tech Green afterwards. Tiny grass has been dreaming for weeks and the lawn looks great - remember, short cuts cause ruts - and I’m sure they’ll throw a nice event to get everyone in a nice festive mood for Homecoming week.

Mini 500

Friday, November 1st, 5:30 PM - Peters Parking Deck

  • Starting Line: Immediately in front of Chi Phi on Fowler St.
  • Pit Row: Fowler St. between Bobby Dodd Way and Fourth St.
  • Recommended Vantage Point: First Turn, between Beta and ATO along Fowler and Fourth St.
  • Recommended Vantage Point: Callaway Plaza and Freshman Hill along Bobby Dodd Way
  • Recommended Vantage Point: Start/Finish Line on Fowler

If you’re not a current first year, this is the best Homecoming event. Sure, yours truly could wax poetic about it, but we really know the competitive flair is strongest in the newest Homecoming event. It comes from similarly mysterious roots to the other two, but with the added bonus of drawing a large crowd and a nice kickoff to a fun Friday night. Check out the event’s great history below, otherwise I run the risk of repeating myself.

Oh, and that picture I got sent last year for the Mini 500 special - “And Crees Heaved.” I cracked myself up all over again looking at it. Thanks, Stephen.

Surround Sound

Friday, November 1st, 7:00 PM - Ferst Center for the Arts

It’s the Georgia Tech Marching Band, pure and simple. The band performs as a whole and as sections in this stationary show back in the now-renovated Ferst Center. Worth a trip over after the Mini 500 wraps up.

Freshman Cake Race

Saturday, November 2nd, 6:00 AM - East Campus

Before dawn, over 1,000 freshmen descend on the northeast corner of campus to participate in a roughly half mile long race for baked goods. What started as a much longer recruiting tool for Dean George Griffin’s track and field team - up to the waterworks and back - picked up baked good prizes, a shorter route, and a coveted spot in Homecoming weekend somewhere in the more than a century it’s been run. Check out more here:

Wreck Parade

Saturday, November 2nd, 9:00 AM - Fowler Street

  • Parade Route: Fowler St.
  • Judges’ Stand: Fowler St. and Ferst Drive intersection
  • Recommended Vantage Point: Judges’ Stand

This one’s perhaps got the weirdest backstory of the bunch - and that’s when compared to a tricycle race that started as glorified fraternity hazing and a footrace where the prize is a cake that happens at 6:00 in the morning - and also perhaps is the one that most befits the industrious engineering spirit of the Institute.

Yellow Jacket Alley

Saturday, November 2nd, 1:00 PM - Brittain Drive

The Ramblin’ Reck. Drumline and cheer. Football players. The whistle, going absolutely ballistic - my personal favorite moment of a gameday on the Flats, if we’re being honest - gets my blood pumping as fast as anything out there. It’s football time. It may not be a homecoming-specific tradition, but it’s a great gameday one, if not the best thing besides, you know, the actual football.

Toe Meets Leather

Saturday, November 2nd, 4:00 PM - Bobby Dodd Stadium

Tech hosts Pittsburgh. You know the drill. Be there. Be on time. Be loud. The crowning event of Georgia Tech Homecoming.

Of course, there are other events around campus going on to check out, but that’s more ink than I can spill in this space. And we’ll see you on the Flats next week! If you’re around with enough time to poke around into new haunts, check out the Kendada Building (“Living Building”) on Ferst Drive or the Coda Building in Tech Square.

These events would not be possible without the contribution, oversight, and dedication of the Ramblin’ Reck Club, and thanks to them for sharing the event schedule as soon as it was finalized. As always, a special thanks goes to Dress Her in White and Gold, Engineering the New South, and the Georgia Tech Archives for the background information and images used in writing this column.

There’s an interesting implication of these latest few columns - we’ve transcended the past into living memory. However, I can’t do what I do without the insights I have from readers like you. If there’s things I wouldn’t know just from reading about them, or important things you think I miss, please let me know. And, as always, thank you for reading the latest edition of From the Rumble Seat’s Rearview Mirror.