A new location, new rides and a new-featured contest highlight this year’s Homecoming Carnival. Along with the carnival, a bonfire and fireworks will take the place during the festivities Thursday.
According to Homecoming chairwoman for Carnival, Bonfire and Fireworks Laurie Elliot, the carnival is being relocated from its regular location across from the Sun Dome to a larger venue near the Embassy Suites at the corner of Lee Roy Collins Boulevard and Fowler Avenue.
“The band is using the field now, so we moved (the carnival),” said Elliot. “This field is larger, we have more space to use.”
The newest addition to the carnival, Elliot said, is a sumo wrestling contest.
The contest will operate like a ride. In order to participate, friends must wait in line together for the opportunity to don large suits that make the participants look like sumo wrestlers. Once in the suits, the pairs will be able to wrestle each other in sumo-fashion.
“It’s really funny. If you have ever seen Charlie’s Angels, they are like that,” Elliot said. “There are even headpieces with the hair.”
In addition to this contest, the mechanical bull riding will be back. Just like the sumo wrestling, anyone in attendance may ride the bull.
But these two events are not the only things happening.
The carnival has added two new rides bringing the number of attractions up to 12. Some include old favorites such as the merry-go-round and the scrambler.
“There are a few bigger rides than last year,” Elliot said.
The carnival starts at 6 p.m. Thursday and 4:30 p.m. Friday and also includes the bonfire and fireworks, both of which take place Thursday around 9 p.m. During the bonfire, the USF Herd of Thunder marching band will play the university fight song while the opposing team’s mascot is burned in effigy.
Following the bonfire, fireworks will be set off.
Thursday, College Night, is busier than Friday and is the only day that has the bonfire and fireworks. Friday is slower due to competition with other Homecoming events, such as the night parade, and attracts more families and children. The carnival will feature the Coke Road Jam, which is a DJ service provided by Coca-Cola, as well as giveaways promoting USF spirit. Everything is free, including riding the bull and being a sumo wrestler. The only thing not free at the carnival is food.