The Daily Gamecock

Vibrant kickoff opens Homecoming

Inflatables, giveaways, food take hold of Greene Street

Attendees eagerly accepted free merchandise and food from the booths of various venders and organizations, such as clothing retailers Southern Tide and High Cotton, charity organizations Clothed in Hope and Children's Chance, student organizations like Students Promoting the University's Reach for Success (SPURS) and USC Dance Marathon and restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings, which brought free wings and its buffalo mascot.

There was a bounce-house obstacle course where college students scrambled to beat their opponents with the good-natured yelps and cries of first-graders.
"I answered some trivia questions at the SPURS booth about tuition and other things, and I got free sunglasses at the Homecoming booth," said Emily Raneri, a first-year international studies student.

This year's kickoff has been bigger and more successful than those in the past, according to Coordinator for Student Organizations Allison Toney. Kickoff attendance increased compared to last year, and students seemed to be more engaged and excited about this weekend's football game against the University of Florida, said Toney.

Students particularly crowded the Southern Tide booth to play spirited games of cornhole and to put their names in a raffle for free clothes and other brand-name items.

Most others were standing in the long line for chicken and fries from Buffalo Wild Wings.

"I think the food helped today," Toney said.

Festivities will continue until Saturday's game with a Canned Creations competition today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Greene Street The days following will entail the crowning of a new Homecoming king and queen in the Carolina Coliseum, dance competitions on Greene Street, more free food and entertainment during Thursday's Cockfest and a display of flamboyant floats in the annual parade on Friday.

First-year marine science student Alison Swan enjoyed the kickoff but thought more activities could bolster Homecoming spirit.


"I definitely think that more organizations could have been here to bring out more students," Swan said. "I thought it would be a little more crazy, but it has still been a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to going to the rest of the events this week. I think that the excitement will definitely build up the closer we get to Saturday."