By Brent E. Frazier, mayor
City of Pelican Rapids

A tradition is a belief, behavior, or custom with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. It is also defined as the transmission of customs or beliefs from one generation to the next. 

Traditions can relate to an individual, a family unit, a community, a statehood, or a nation.

We all are probably familiar with several traditions that we didn’t know were considered traditions from the past.

Some traditions include saying grace or a prayer before eating a meal, reading a bedtime story to your child after they are tucked into bed for the evening, going to the movies every Saturday night, serving turkey for the Thanksgiving Day meal, handing down clothes to a younger sibling, washing laundry each Monday morning, attending an Easter egg hunt, leaving cookies and milk for Santa each Christmas Eve, compiling a list of New Year’s resolutions, baby showers, 4th of July celebrations and homecoming events.

Homecoming is a tradition of welcoming back alumni or other former members to celebrate the organization’s existence. We hear of these celebrations at corporations, churches, colleges, universities, and high schools.

At the college level, we can glance back in time to the 1911 University of Kansas Jayhawks vs. the University of Missouri Tigers football game. This game was played on November 25, 1911, at the beautiful Rollins Field in Columbia, Missouri. 

In that era, college football teams played a total of 8 regular season games, compared to the 12 regular game schedule of today. This was the final football game of the regular season for both teams, and it ended in a 3-3 tie score.

This crisp autumn game is widely considered to be the very first college “homecoming” football game ever played. 

The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers played their first homecoming game on Northrop Field in Minneapolis, against the University of Wisconsin Badgers in 1914 and won by a score of 14-3. 

The North Dakota State University Bison began their homecoming tradition on October 22, 1921, when they lost by a score of 54-0 against the South Dakota State University Jack Rabbits. 

The tradition “Homecoming Week” is celebrated as the school graduates come back “home” to their alma mater and take part in organized events such as class reunions and dances. 

As homecoming football games have become dazzling events at the college levels, their tradition and customs also carry on at the high school level. 

Here in Pelican Rapids, we have celebrated homecoming football games in either September or October for many decades. (Does anyone know the date of our very first homecoming football game?)

Although the weekly events leading up to this Friday night homecoming football game have changed over the years, the general pattern or schedule has remained fairly constant.

The selection of the Royal Court is composed of young women and men from the Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior classes. At the Coronation Ceremony, a Queen and a King are selected from the group.

Leading up to and during Homecoming Week, much promotion and activities are witnessed within the community; by the sale and wearing of homecoming buttons, dress-up days at school, decorative homecoming posters in retail store windows, pep rallies at the high school, a Thursday night bonfire, a powder puff football game, a Friday afternoon parade, a tailgate party, a Friday night football game, and the Homecoming Dance. 

Throughout the week, there is also the opportunity to attend volleyball games, soccer games, cross country meets, and enjoy a soda at a local establishment.

Yes, as we welcome back school alumni and visitors to our community who we probably haven’t seen in a while, we also celebrate Homecoming as an annual opportunity for a community to gather for food, fun, and camaraderie. 

So we extend a huge welcome to one and all that have come to participate in our Pelican High School Homecoming Week activities, and we continue to say: 

“Pelican Rapids Really Makes You Feel At Home.” 

And… “Go Vikings!”