The Big Red Bear greets students on the football field prior to the 2018 Homecoming game between Cornell and Yale. This year’s Homecoming opponent is Georgetown.

Homecoming to feature fireworks, football, fun for all

For Cornell Homecoming weekend 2019, Oct. 4–5, the university will welcome everyone – alumni, students, faculty, staff, and residents of Ithaca and surrounding communities – to the Ithaca campus for a two-day celebration.

Traditional centerpiece events, including Friday night’s fireworks and Saturday’s Fan Festival before the football game, are expected to draw a general audience of up to 18,000. In addition, more than 150 events are planned by colleges and units, student groups, Greek affiliates and other entities around the university.

“During Homecoming weekend, Cornell throws its doors open and invites everyone to ‘come home,’” said Lauren Graham Garcia, associate director of Homecoming and special interest programs. “With hundreds of collaborative events planned, there really is something to interest anyone. It’s a tradition for alumni to come back to campus, and many parents visit on Homecoming weekend. Students, faculty and staff enjoy the opportunity to take a break, and it’s a great opportunity for people who live nearby to join in the fun.”

The Homecoming website provides a full schedule of events, as well as a guide to transportation, parking, dining and lodging.

The official celebration opens Friday at 7 p.m. with the fireworks and laser light show, which is free, family-friendly and open to the public. New this year, free tickets are required for admission to the show, at Schoellkopf Field, and are available online.

Friday’s show incorporates larger-than-life 3D projections and music, in addition to fireworks, to showcase Cornell spirit. Opening entertainment will be provided by DJ Ben Ortiz, assistant curator of the Cornell Hip Hop Collection in Cornell University Library’s Rare and Manuscript Collections, and the Big Red Marching Band.

Saturday’s main athletics event – the Big Red football game against Georgetown – kicks off at 3 p.m. Tickets are free for Cornell students with a Big Red Sports Pass. General admission tickets can be purchased at On game day, tickets can be purchased at the Bartels Hall ticket office with credit card or at the Schoellkopf Field gate with cash. 

Other public events Saturday include:

  • Homecoming 5K, 8:30 a.m., F.R. Newman Arboretum at Cornell Botanic Gardens. Registration is required; proceeds benefit the United Way of Tompkins County;
  • Homecoming Arts Tour, 9:30 a.m., Human Ecology Building, Level T. Registration is required for this glimpse of the diverse fine art and cultural offerings at Cornell;
  • Return to the Classroom: “Getting a Leg Up: Prosthetics in Veterinary Medicine,” a lecture by Chris Frye, DVM ’11, assistant clinical professor and section chief of sports medicine and rehabilitation at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals; 11:30 a.m., Hall of Fame Room, Friends Hall. Registration is required, and a livestream is available;
  • Big Red Fan Festival, noon to 3 p.m., Crescent parking lot, with tailgate parties, free music, rides and college showcases;
  • Homecoming concert, 8 p.m., Barton Hall; tickets at the online Homecoming planner.

In addition to the main attractions, dozens of events and opportunities – including athletics competitions, exhibits, college tours and lectures – will be offered.

“Alumni and students, in particular, find common ground through traditions such as Homecoming,” said Lisa Bushlow ’91, senior director of student and alumni, class and affinity programs. “We’re all here to have fun, learn and celebrate Cornell together.”

Kate Blackwood is a writer and editor for Alumni Affairs and Development.

Media Contact

Abby Butler