It invites alumni of all ages back to the Plains to celebrate their alma mater. It overflows with traditions and school spirit. It turns the concourse into a maze of people in matching t-shirts and not-so-secret agendas. Homecoming is one of Auburn’s oldest traditions and is much more than just another football game for the Auburn Family.
Homecoming has been a tradition at Auburn for over one hundred years. How much has changed since the those first homecomings on the Plains? On- and off- campus organizations still team up to create extravagant floats to poke fun at the opposing football team or brag about our celebrated coach.
Omicron Delta Kappa keeps their traditional cake race running each year, complete with a winning kiss from Miss Auburn. The first cake races was held in 1928 so that the track and field coach, Wilbur Hutsell, could find talent for his team. Today’s cake race is just for fun and to build camaraderie within the Auburn Family.
And ever since 1937, we’ve elected Miss Homecoming. However, this tradition has changed a lot since the 30s. The first Miss Homecoming was elected to be the “official sponsor of all events of the weekend.” The Miss Homecoming ballots listed no names, and each student was simply asked to write in his or her choice for Miss Homecoming. The Auburn woman who received the largest number of votes would be awarded the title.
ODK and the “A” Club sponsored this seemly simple election process. The concourse wouldn’t be filled with campaigners, you wouldn’t see posters promoting five candidates, and no one would come to your organization’s meeting with a story and gift. However, this first election was not lacking in drama and scandal. The Plainsmen from Wednesday, November 17, 1937 recaps it best:
Despite the arguments and threats of surprise attacks, the students of 1937 managed to select a hostess for the weekend. As announced at the Auburn-Georgia pep rally, Eleanor Wright was elected as Auburn’s very first Miss Homecoming. Auburn did not have a homecoming game the next year, but in 1939, Eleanor Wright was once again elected Miss Homecoming. Soon the election became tradition, and Auburn students looked forward to choosing a good-looking woman to represent them during the week. In the past 70 years, Miss Homecoming has transformed from the co-ed who gave the biggest tumble before the Friday night pep rally to the woman who was thought of as the year’s most likable woman. In the past 10 years, she has transformed even more. Miss Homecoming elections are now so much more than a mere popularity contest. Each of the five candidates has a passion for an organization or cause. Her goal for the week is to share this passion with everyone on the Plains.
Miss Homecoming has often been considered an “unnecessary” Auburn tradition. Why even have a Miss Homecoming? Well, why not? It’s about school spirit. Excitement. Color. It adds to the myriad of events in which to participate for Homecoming. There’s an activity for each and every student during the week. Campaigning and voting gives students the opportunity to channel their school pride and enthusiasm. Some traditions are just about Auburn spirit. After all, if we took away “unnecessary” traditions such as this, would it really be Auburn?