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ISSUE 117 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/26/2003

Country-western week welcomed: bull ride, bluegrass band begin Homecoming festivities

By Emelie Heltsley
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 26, 2003

Despite the threat of rain, Oles are ready to get rowdy for the 2003 Homecoming celebration, which began Monday and will conclude Saturday.

"Let’s Get Rowdy," this year’s theme, has taken over St. Olaf, as evidenced by the country-western decorations around campus. Stav Dining Hall is the new home of twinkly white lights, hay bales and cacti. A "General Store" is now open right outside the Cage, at which students can buy Homecoming t-shirts, tank tops, cowboy hats and bandanas. Wagon wheels and "Wanted" posters also hang around campus.

Robin Karkowski-Schelar ’06, Ole Traditions chair, has been planning Homecoming since her installation last April. Kristen Anderson ’06, special events director, is her right-hand woman. Karkowski-Schelar and An-derson are in charge of planning Homecoming, Winter Week and the President’s Ball.

"Homecoming has gotten off to a really good start this year and we hope the momentum keeps up throughout the week," Anderson said.

Monday marked kickoff night and seemed to be a big success with students. Oles everywhere were wearing pink, tan and gray Homecoming 2003 t-shirts and enjoyed mechanical bull rides in the Pause.

The String Fever Blue-grass Band played during dinner, adding to the country-western decorations and themed dinner. The meal was held in the cafeteria instead of the Plaza because of predicted rain showers. Later that night, the Clayton Miller Blues Band played some blues in the Pause.

Karkowski-Schelar said that her budget for Homecoming, Winter Week, and the President’s Ball was around $19,000, and that Homecoming usually costs around $12,000. This approximation, however, depends largely upon the sale of Homecoming merchandise.

"Who would have guessed that all of the pink and tan t-shirts would sell out in the first two hours?" said Anderson.

On Tuesday, students enjoyed free root beer from the General Store, and another country-western themed dinner in the cafeteria. Later that night, "City Slickers" and "City Slickers 2" played in Viking Theatre. Wednesday included a costume contest and free laser tag in the Pause.

Thursday’s afternoon event was a surprise, but included a bonfire behind Thorson Hall, with free root beer floats and s’mores. Friday, Oles will have the chance to get their pictures taken with "Western Stars," enjoy carnival games in Buntrock. and see "Western Outlaws" in Viking Theater.

This year’s theme came from a National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) convention last year. Karkowski-Schelar had so much fun riding a mechanical bull there that she wanted to plan this year’s Homecoming"as long as we had a mechanical bull."

Karkowski-Schelar said, "Whether you live in the country, or have your cactus in the sand, this is your homecoming." Her main goal in planning Homecoming was to provide a variety of activities so that every student could do something and be involved.

Homecoming events will culminate to an exciting finish on Saturday with a parade down St. Olaf Avenue and the St. Olaf versus St. John’s football game, beginning at 1 p.m. That night, students will enjoy a video DJ dance in the Pause.

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