DENVER - Whether you're a lover of dogs, music, food or games, the first University of Colorado Denver Homecoming Barbecue had something for everyone.
The Oct. 22 event at the Ninth Street Park on the Auraria campus featured a dog parade, kickball, barbecue, music by Chris Daniels & the Kings, face painting, balloon animals and other fun.
The College of Engineering and Applied Science hosted a kickball game Saturday morning as part of the homecoming activities. Nearly 40 participants -- faculty, staff and students -- got in on the fun then headed over to the BBQ as a reward for all that running and kicking.
All together, more than 100 people turned out for the festivities, which preceded the Colorado Buffaloes vs. Oregon Ducks homecoming game in Boulder. Shuttle buses ferried fans to the football game from Denver's Market Street Station.
The "Real Dogs Love CU" dog games and parade drew the most participants. About 20 dogs of all sizes were entered in the costume parade, featuring pooches dressed as a bumble bee, turtle, hot dog, lady bug, leprechaun, Mr. T, Vincent Van Gogh and several in university colors. Prizes were awarded to "Cutest Dog," "Best School Spirit," "Scariest Dog" and crowd favorites. The family-friendly dog event was sponsored by the School of Education & Human Development.
Florie Montoya, Human Resources staff and a graduate student, attended with her family. They outfitted their dog Taylor, a West Highland Terrier, in a CU T-shirt, hat and ribbons. Needless to say, Taylor walked off with the "School Spirit" prize. "Taylor is the cutest little CU mascot," Montoya said.
Joe Halter, assistant director of Student Life, said the activities during Homecoming week, including Funny Field Day, were well-supported by students. He noticed that many more students are sporting University of Colorado Denver apparel on campus now that the university's branding campaign has helped establish an identity.
"Getting the students out in an activity is huge for us," Halter said. "That is a big emphasis: How do we create an identity here?"
Joe Michel, a senior at the university, enjoyed the Homecoming barbecue and concert along with several friends."You have to start the tradition in order for it to become something," said Michel. "It might build into something bigger next year."