They might not commonly be thought of as tourist attractions, but the banners, or decorated sheets, hanging from many University of Kentucky students' houses have garnered plenty of attention.
UK junior Elizabeth Howell toured the banners on State Street, showing her mom some of her favorites Wednesday morning.
"We're gonna win — or we better, because of all our banners," Howell said.
She couldn't make a banner because she lives in the dorms, but she enjoyed seeing the new banners pop up. This was Howell's second sightseeing trip: "They're getting more creative now," she said.
Never miss a local story.
Making and displaying banners to support the Wildcats in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament is a time-honored tradition for many UK students. Stephanie Durbin, a first-year pharmacy student, has looked forward to making hers since she moved to her house on State Street.
"I've been hoping that we would make it far enough (in the NCAA tournament to make a banner) just because I love UK a lot and I want other people to know that I love UK," Durbin said. It might look as if purple sparkles spell out "WILDCATS" on her banner, but Durbin said, "They're supposed to be blue."
Many of the banners that have sprung up in the area around UK's campus show a lot of creativity. Whether by coming up with a distinctive image or just deciding on a clever saying, banner makers have created a unique array that ranges from declarations of a perfect 40-0 season to lewd remarks about UK's competitors.
One banner on Oldham Avenue shows SpongeBob and Patrick from Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants dressed in UK jerseys asking their magic conch shell if Kentucky has lost, to which the shell replies, "NO."
Meredith Helline, a UK senior, said her roommates Rachel Freeman and Hilary Price came up with the idea.
"We wanted something unique that no one else has thought of," Helline said, "and I think we accomplished that with Patrick and SpongeBob."
Drew Stevens, a UK junior, said his girlfriend got the idea for her Super Smash Bros.-themed banner, on Oldham Avenue, from the video of the UK basketball team playing the game. It took her six or seven hours to paint it, he said.
Clearly, time and effort go into making some of these banners. UK sophomore Lauren Delventhal, who worked on the banner on Woodland Avenue that features UK player Devin Booker dunking, found an image of Booker online and put it through Photoshop. She then projected it on to the sheet and traced it. It took her four hours.
After all the hard work, many banner makers are protective of their creations.
Cole Gerding, a UK senior, enlisted the help of his Northern Kentucky University friend Chris Shouse for his banner, which says, "Wine 'em, dine 'em, Cauley-Stein 'em," and features a detailed caricature of the player.
Shouse was rushed in creating the banner, which hangs on University Street, Gerding said, but Shouse plans to touch it up this weekend when he visits UK.
"We take it down every night because a few of them got stolen and ripped down by people," he said. "We think it's too good to get stolen."
Jessica Linares, a UK junior, even put her Twitter handle on her University Street banner, so if someone posted a picture of it, everyone would know who made it. Her banner said, "So it's gonna be 40-0 or it's gonna go down in flames," tying in a Taylor Swift reference.
Linares said she would not be surprised if the banner does "go down in flames" because of its proximity to State Street, an area where students flock after NCAA tournament wins or losses.