As an alumnus of Howard, homecoming is pretty much a holiday for me and my fellow Bison, not to mention the scores of other folks that didn’t go to the Mecca but love the experience.
The older I get, the more I hear folks say they are getting too old for homecoming. Too old for homecoming?! When does that happen? I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, Howard homecoming is a joyous time for us to gather as one and reflect on one of the greatest and most memorable periods of our lives. As an undergraduate at Howard, I always loved homecoming but nothing beat the feeling of returning “home”, post graduation.
What is true, is that your taste and opinion of entertainment changes over the years as you mature. I’ll never forget watching Foxy Brown perform at yardfest in 1996, Diddy, Nas, Jay and so many others. Standing in line for the chicken wings, funnel cake, and standing around on the yard in my flyest outfit just to be scene.
Oh and the football game – I almost forgot. Some people hang out on the yard while others look forward to the cheering on the football team and the doing all marching band dances like “Get Up” and “Neck”. It doesn’t get any better!
At 30-something, my idea of a great time has changed. I’d like a little body space at a party, I’d much rather enjoy a glass of wine than a long island iced-tea, I enjoy conversation instead of shouting over blaring music, and I would prefer all of this while being fashionably cute and comfortable.
The idea of wearing jeggings with 5-inch stilettos that are sinking into the grass while sprinting across the yard to get a glimpse of Drake or Rick Ross is not what I consider appealing.
Right around the beginning of October is when the Facebook party events begin to surface and you start getting messages from people you haven’t heard from all year that fill your inbox. Where are the parties? Which ones should I go to? Are they young? What’s the new spot for brunch?
Homecoming is for everyone. You’re never too old; you just need to know where to go and what to do within your age range.
If you have similar sentiments as me, here’s what I suggest.
Friday – I’m hitting up Indulj’s happy hour. You can venture out on the yard if you want to but you’ll see, within the first 15 minutes, that 90% of the people out there are under 21 and highly impressionable. I’d stick to the Indulj happy hour, keep it there for the night, or perhaps head to another venue on U Street.
Saturday – Although the morning parade has never been my thing, it may be ideal if you have a family. I plan on heading over to the parking lot across from the bookstore for tailgating. Yes, tailgating! There’s nothing like a tailgate party to set off the football atmosphere and Howard does it now. After tailgating, I’ll head over to watch the game.
You’ll find an older crowd on the yard on Saturday. You can even watch the game on the jumbotron there and partake in the second day of yardfest activities. It’s a great time to see people that you may not have seen on Friday.
During happy hour, The Howard University Alumni Association is sponsoring their 2nd annual Memoirs of the yard at Bar 7 (bar7dc.com), from 5pm – 9pm.
Saturday night, the guaranteed hottest homecoming event is the Black Hollywood party. Tracey Lee and other alumni put together a grown, old-school event with a premium open bar and buffet all night. Our own Eric Roberson will perform as well. For more information, visit http://blackhollywoodhu2011.eventbrite.com/
Sunday – As a former chapel assistant, I have to suggest Rankin Chapel service with guest speaker Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook – Ambassador at Large for Internal Freedom, The U.S. Department of State. Chapel service is always a good way to close out the fun-filled weekend with a token of spiritual appreciation.
To conclude the weekend, brunch is a popular trend in the District. There are several venues that offer great food now that it’s become so popular. I suggest Beacon Bar & Grill, Tabard Inn, Eatonville, B. Smith’s, and Busboys & Poets.
You’re never too old to see old friends, laugh at the memories and appreciate your college experience. It’s a matter of pre-planning, adjusting to the changes of the Washington area, and embracing what made you fall inlove with Howard – the sense of family. That’s what this weekend is all about.
See you on the yard!