Apart from October is filled with a ton of Halloween festivities and events, and a much-needed change of Floridian weather from suffocate-in-humidity to decently-breezy-and-not-scathing-hot. At the end of October is an event that all Panthers look forward to: homecoming! This year’s homecoming theme was The Wizard of Oz with the tagline of “There’s No Place Like Homecoming.” It was a pretty exciting homecoming because this is the first ever Florida Tech Homecoming with a football game. My favorite part of this homecoming was the Homecoming Fest featuring a full-fledged concert with Taking Back Sunday as the headlining band.
Florida Tech’s Homecoming Fest happens the Friday of the homecoming weekend in downtown Melbourne. The fest was packed with visiting alumni, faculty and staff of the school, and the local community coming to enjoy the festivities. Along the road there were various tents put up with different vendors selling really neat items. My favorite vendor this year was the spray paint artist that had his tent set up in the middle of the street. I stuck around the tent for a bit to see a couple of paintings being made. The technique used to achieve such cool and unique paintings was amazing. He used every day items like newspaper, cardboard bits, pots, pans, toothbrushes and such to add different effects to the painting and give texture to the layers of the spray paint. Some of the paintings he created depicted a boat on a sunset setting and a cool galaxy full of stars and planets.
The food trucks were also great. There were all type of foods like tacos, barbeque and snow cones. Plenty to keep you full while waiting for the bands to go onstage and play. This year the stage, sponsored by Geico, was set up at the very end of the street in downtown Melbourne. It was a large set up with a huge and rather loud sound system. The show began at 6:00 p.m. with a few single artists playing for a while. At around 7:00, the main opening bands went on stage. There were two bands, both similar in music style. They were the sort of ska/Latin type of sound that really makes you want to move. Everyone in the crowd was dancing along with the great music as we all waited for Taking Back Sunday to take the stage. The opening bands were really different than the headliners, but it was a nice contrast between the two sounds. There was also a fantastic DJ who mixed in between acts so there was always music playing.
Around the end of the night, the head of the Florida Tech Alumni Association came out to talk to the crowd and introduce Taking Back Sunday. The crowd got really rowdy at that point. Since the stage was placed on an open road with no sort of barriers, it was really difficult for there to be very much crowd control. When the pushing and shoving got to be a bit too much to me, my friend and I decided to get out of the heart of the crowd and listen from the side. The concert was really cool overall and it was nostalgic for me since I listened to Taking Back Sunday back in high school when I was fifteen years old. It was nice to bring back some of the old memories while making some new ones. Hopefully the current Panthers enjoyed the homecoming festivities and some of the new Panthers will be joining us in next year’s celebrations!