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New Mexico State University

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Aggie Homecoming Week highlights

A focal point of New Mexico State University's Homecoming, "Countdown to Xcellence: Rocketing into the Future," will be the annual bonfire and pep rally, featuring a free concert by award-winning country band Emerson Drive.

The NMSU football team, cheerleaders, Sundancers and Pride Band will host the bonfire, which is set to start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, at Parking Lot No. 96 south of the Stan Fulton Center.

Justin O'Connell, executive director of activities for the Associated Students of NMSU, said Homecoming is vital to the connection between current students, alumni and the Las Cruces community.

"Homecoming provides an opportunity for past and present students and community members to unite and show that Aggie spirit all week long," O'Connell said.

Emerson Drive has been awarded the Canadian Country Music Association's 2005 CCMA All Star Band, in 2003 the group was named the Academy of Country Music's Top New Vocal Group of the Year and in 2002 the group was Billboard's No.1 Top Country Artist of the Year. The band's newest release is called "Countrified." O'Connell said he hopes to establish a new tradition for NMSU Homecoming in that each year a popular music group will play during the bonfire.

"With Emerson Drive's popularity, the concert will really put New Mexico State University on the map as a university where Homecoming is a rich experience for students and the community alike," he said.

Crimson Day will follow the bonfire activities on Friday, Oct. 20. Students, faculty, staff and alumni are asked to wear crimson to show their Aggie pride. There will be free giveaways on campus throughout the day. Fraternity and sorority homes, as well as offices and residence halls, also will be decorated with crimson around campus to celebrate Homecoming.

Activities for the final day of Homecoming include a car show in the Bennigan's parking lot at 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 21. Then, at 10 a.m., NMSU's Homecoming Parade will start at University Avenue and Triviz Drive and proceed to Knox Street. Tailgating for the football game will start at 2 p.m. on the east side of Aggie Memorial Stadium. The Homecoming game against Hawaii will start at 6 p.m. at Aggie Memorial Stadium. The Homecoming royalty and parade winner results will be presented at half-time.

For more information, call O'Connell at (505) 646-4415 or e-mail him at oconnell_js@yahoo.com. A listing of Homecoming activities is available at http://alum.nmsu.edu.