CLEMSON — Clemson University President James P. Clements will join City of Clemson Mayor J.C. Cook Monday to kick off the 2015-16 school year at the annual Welcome Back Festival.

Crowds gather downtown at last year's Welcome Back Festival.

Crowds gather downtown at last year’s Welcome Back Festival.

Thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and local residents are expected to attend the event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the streets of downtown Clemson. Clements and Cook will formally welcome the crowd at 5:45 p.m. on the grandstand/stage area.

More than 70 vendors from local restaurants, business and university organizations will gather on College Avenue, offering food tastings, prizes and merchandise that can be purchased with festival tickets, which will be sold for 50 cents each to raise money for the Student Alumni Council Endowment Scholarship Fund. Admission to the festival is free.

The Tiger Band, Clemson cheerleaders, the Rally Cats and the Tiger mascot also are expected to be on hand to provide entertainment.