2021 Beloiter Days may have been virtual, but that doesn’t stop us from looking back with wonder at past in-person celebrations, when parades, Homecoming decorations, and dance parties brought College Street and the city of Beloit to life.
By the time you read this, 2021 Beloiter Days will already have happened. The week-long series of online gatherings and special events was a first of its kind, designed to bring alumni together when face-to-face interactions were still impossible.
But let’s be honest. Many of us long for the large in-person gatherings of the past.
The good news: We will return to those events. In the meantime, nothing can take away our memories of the happy, quirky gatherings and autumn traditions Beloiters have loved to revel in over the years.
In the 1950s and ’60s, Homecoming featured elaborate parades that traversed the city's downtown streets. Credit: Beloit College Archives
Handmade house decorations were commonly placed in front of fraternities and sororities and vied to win contests. Credit: Beloit College Archives
Themes of crushing football opponents took on lives of their own, such as a two-story King Kong. Credit: Beloit College Archives
This photo of a 1956 pajama parade is unusual for many reasons, including its capture on color film. Credit: Beloit College Archives
On the march
In the 1970s and ’80s, students replaced the floats with irreverent marching kazoo bands, which involved wearing lots of rummaged, layered clothing and other antics. The kazoo band tradition continued in the 1980s. Credit: Beloit College Archives
Members turned up in various places, sometimes at football games and Homecoming parades. This Homecoming photograph appeared on the cover of Beloit College Magazine, fall 1984. Credit: Beloit College Archives
Contemporary parades and dance parties
Sometime in the mid-2000s, athletic teams and student clubs and organizations started energizing Homecoming parades with fun performances, from driving decorated cars and wearing crazy costumes to breaking into giant dance parties.
Black Students United are shown performing during the 2017 parade. Credit: Amanda Reeseburg
International students broke into dance in 2019, the most recent parade held on campus. Credit: Yusuke Hatano’20