North Texas Daily

UNT spirit burns bright with homecoming bonfire, fireworks

UNT spirit burns bright with homecoming bonfire, fireworks

UNT spirit burns bright with homecoming bonfire, fireworks
November 11
15:28 2017

Bathed in a rich golden glow, students surrounded the shallow creek separating the crowd from the immense blaze just across the water, their mesmerized faces watching the towering flames gently lick away at the cold Friday night.

“Everyone likes to see things burn,” media arts sophomore Brittney Cardoza said. “Setting things on fire is fun.”

The captivated audience of the gentle, yet ferocious inferno seemed to prove her right.

Cardoza is also a fan of the tradition of the annual UNT homecoming bonfire — the Talons, a student spirit organization, have been building the bonfire for 67 years.

“I come every year because I like bonfires,” biomedical engineering junior Victoria Glasco said.

Glasco used to live in Victory Hall near the bonfire site and would watch the Talons crew build the huge pyramid of wood pallets each year and then set fire to it.

“It’s cool that you’ve done all this work and then you burn it down and have this big celebration,” Glasco said.

The Talons spend 24 hours of every day during the week leading up to the bonfire building the structure for the fire, taking on shifts to build and place the large wood pallets that give the fire its foundation. The top 23 members who put in the most time in building the structure are the ones who light the fire.

The pyramid of flames is no backdrop, but dance performances from the top teams from Yell like Hell hold their own with a crowd of thousands watching. Yell like Hell is another homecoming tradition at UNT, with student organizations competing in teams to win titles in three categories Thursday and Friday night.

This year’s homecoming theme, “Deep in the Heart of UNT,” brought out scores of cowboy boots, hats and chaps. Student organizations were quick to mix up the country music with rap, pop, hip hop and more.

However, before any performances, UNT President Neal Smatresk took the stage followed by head football coach Seth Littrell to get students excited for Saturday’s football game against the University of Texas at El Paso.

“The bonfire is a symbol of the student body trying to get fired up for the game tomorrow,” marketing junior Jordan Drexler said.

Drexler transferred to UNT from Indiana State this semester and said he was at the event to get more acclimated on campus and meet more people. Drexler said the difference between the two universities’ homecoming celebrations was in both size and participation.

Friday night’s electric crowd was made even more vibrant with the addition of large green and white foam lights for students to wield in the throngs of people spread out behind Apogee Stadium. Flashing school spirit, the lights complemented the golden radiance of the fire to paint a gilded visual of UNT pride.

Fireworks added to the spectacle, with an Instagram-worthy display going off just above the bonfire at its peak, and students watching to the soundtrack of fire-themed music and enthusiastic chatter from attendees. The subtle scent of smoke lingered in the background, a heady setting for the high spirits of students galvanized by an athletic department raking in wins in most sports.

Nearly 4,000 students attended the bonfire Friday night, a key event in UNT’s homecoming festivities. The week will finish off with a parade, tailgating and football game Saturday.

Featured Image: UNT students celebrate homecoming at the bonfire by Apogee stadium on Friday night. Kelsey Shoemaker

About Author

Sarah Sarder

Sarah Sarder

Sarah Sarder is the Senior News Writer for the North Texas Daily.

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