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The parade entry from Ironworkers Local No. 14 makes its way down Higgins Avenue during the University of Montana Homecoming Parade in October 2013. The float won Grand Sweepstakes in the parade.

TOM BAUER/Missoulian

This week is abuzz with University of Montana Homecoming events leading up to Saturday’s big game, in which the Griz will take on the Northern Colorado Bears. There’s all sorts of fun activities planned for Homecoming week for the whole family to enjoy.

The Food Zoo is opening its doors to the public Thursday at 5 p.m. for a bargain Homecoming buffet dinner. Fill your plate and your belly for $7.53 per person.

On Friday, UM’s School of Journalism is celebrating its Centennial Anniversary with an open house for the public during the day and a party for its alumni and friends that evening. The party kicks off at 7 p.m. and includes hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Bring your dancing shoes because local musician Tom Catmull is giving a live performance.

Later that night, UM students will have the traditional Yell Night Pep Rally on the Oval. While the age-old bonfire lights up the night, the Griz football team will make an appearance to tunes belted out by UM’s marching band and chorus. In full Griz spirit, Monte will also be present. The time-honored lighting of the “M” will precede a fireworks show above Main Hall.

The Oval is open to the public and there is free parking on the East side of campus.

An all-alumni social and dance will follow the pep rally at the Holiday Inn Downtown with entertainment by the UM marching band, the alumni jazz band and the up-and-coming blues band Three-Eared Dog. Doors open at 7 p.m.

After such a fantastic night of drinking and dancing, sweat out those toxins in the seventh annual Homecoming Hustle 5K Race, starting at Higgins and Broadway on Saturday at 9:45 a.m.

The Homecoming parade starts shortly thereafter at 10 a.m., following Higgins and University avenues.

Watch the Griz take on the Northern Colorado Bears starting at 1:30 p.m.

If Homecoming isn’t exactly your thing, there are plenty of other activities this week to add to your busy social calendar.

On Wednesday, for example, The Roxy Theater is hosting Art on Tap. For $32, take an art lesson from an instructor who promises to lead you in the creation of your own masterpiece by the end of the evening. All supplies, including an adult beverage, are included in the fee. It starts at 7 p.m.

Do you love legendary PBS painter Bob Ross? Do you pine for the artist’s distinctive “happy little trees” painting instruction? If so, you’re in luck. The Zootown Arts Community Center is hosting Bob Ross Art Night starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday. For $25, Missoula artists (or aspiring artists) can follow along with a rerun of Bob Ross’ show and create their own landscape with as many happy little trees as they want. The fee covers all supplies, including the canvas and a glass of wine.

On Thursday, UM is hosting a conversation with Helena artist Sandra Dal Poggetto and Mark Stevens, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. The event begins at 5 p.m. at the Masquer Theater UM PARTV Center. Dal Pogetto’s work, featuring what Stevens describes as “truthful reflection(s) of our culture’s complex relation to the landscape of the West,” will be on display until Sept. 27 in the Paxson and Meloy Galleries.

Reporter Kathryn Haake can be reached at 523-5268 or at kate.haake@missoulian.com.

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