DSU concludes week-long homecoming celebration

Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — According to Delaware State University’s tailgating rules, revelers can start setting up their parking lot parties four hours ahead of the 2 p.m. kickoff. At DSU’s homecoming game on Saturday the Hornets faced off against the Florida A&M Rattlers, and early patrons took full advantage of the allotted time. In a sparsely populated parking lot DSU freshmen Marc Thomas and several of his friends had set up their grill and we’re already cooking burgers by 11 a.m.

“We’re allowed to stay till an hour after the game too,” Mr. Thomas said. “We definitely plan on doing that. We’re just here to support the team. Win or lose, we’re going to have a good time doing it.”

Fortunately Mr. Thomas came in with a positive attitude because the Hornets were trounced 41 to 27, dropping them to a record of 0-6 for the season. According to DSU, the university has usually enjoyed a fair amount of success on its homecoming in recent years. Since 1969, the Hornets have been 33-14 on homecoming Saturday. Despite this, the Hornets have now dropped their last three homecoming games, including a 34-7 setback to South Carolina State last season. Saturday’s game was the 34th meeting between the Rattlers and Hornets since the series began in 1977. The last time they met at Alumni Stadium, Florida A&M came out on top 41-7 in 2014.

The university had launched the homecoming week festivities with a full slate of happenings set to run though Oct. 9-16. Saturday kicked off with an alumni breakfast and homecoming parade. The parade snaked through downtown Dover from Legislative Hall to William Henry Middle School. State and county delegates, some seeking reelection this year, turned out in force.

As game time neared, the university’s campus parking lots filled to capacity, and sports fans lined up beneath the row of inflatable AirDancers that skirt the top of Alumni Stadium’s box office. The event was a cacophony of grill smoke and music blaring from various tailgating vehicles. Food, and university apparel vendors also took to the campus lanes. There was even a voter registration booth trying to interest passing students on the final day of registration in the state.

“We haven’t registered too many people yet today, but we’ve been here for the past few months and overall we’ve gotten several hundred people signed up,” said Crystal Hamilton, treasurer of the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Kent County.

The registration booth was set up in partnership with the LWV of Kent County and NCAAP of Kent County to spread the word in a venue full of young people who may not have registered otherwise.

“It’s such an important place to be spreading the word because you have such diversity and a large community turn out,” said Ms. Hamilton. “It’s sort of ground zero for registering new voters.”

On Saturday night, DSU also held a 125th anniversary celebration at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino where they honored 40 over/under 40 distinguished alumni. The celebration also featured a performance by vocalist V. Bozeman of the hit Fox drama, Empire.

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