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However, they usually consist of a football game played on a school's home football field, activities for students and alumni, a parade featuring the school's choir, marching band, and sports teams, and the coronation of a homecoming queen (and at many schools, a homecoming king).
A dance commonly follows the game or the day following the game.
In a single-sex institution, the homecoming court will usually consist of only a king and a prince (for an all-male school) or a queen and a princess (for an all-female school), although some schools may choose to join with single-sex schools of the other gender to elect the homecoming court jointly.
Generally, the king and queen are students completing their final years of study at their school (also called “seniors”), while the prince and princess are underclassmen, often with a prince/princess for each grade.
Homecoming is an annual tradition in the United States.
Sometimes, the big announcement comes at a pep rally, school assembly, or public ceremony one or more days before the football game.
The intense rivalry originally took place at neutral sites, usually in Kansas City, Missouri, until a new conference regulation was announced that required intercollegiate football games to be played on collegiate campuses.
To renew excitement in the rivalry, ensure adequate attendance at the new location, and celebrate the first meeting of the two teams on the Mizzou campus in Columbia, Missouri, Mizzou Athletic Director Chester Brewer invited all alumni to "come home" for the game in 1911.
When attached to a football game, homecoming traditionally occurs on the team's return from the longest road trip of the season.
The game itself, whether it be football or another sport, will typically feature the home team playing a considerably weaker opponent.