An Oktoberfest Primer: What your student may not have told you about one of Longwood’s favorite traditions

Has your student mentioned anything about Oktoberfest?

If not, I thought you might like to know a little about one of Longwood’s favorite annual traditions. With a Farmaritaville theme this year, Oktoberfest is a week of events that kicks off this Sunday, Sept. 24, and concludes with a full day of events on Saturday.

Oktoberfest is a refresher for students at about the midpoint of the semester. Here’s what your students will be experiencing next week:

Bonfire, the traditional kickoff to Oktoberfest, is on Sunday
Spirit activities Monday through Friday, including Beach Day (imagine the campus full of students dressed as if they’re on a tropical vacation) and a Pink Out, where everyone wears pink to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Service Walk on Thursday
Color Wars on Friday (more about this class-based “paint war” further down)
Saturday, the main event: student organization booths, the Oktoberfest procession followed by the Klown dance and spirit leader performance (in lederhosen, of course), student entertainment and an evening concert featuring four live bands

Bring in the Klowns! It’s a time-honored part of Oktoberfest.

Student organizations set up booths to promote awareness and raise money.

Color Wars, which is part of Oktoberfest, is a tradition on its own, pitting the green classes (students who entered in odd years/freshmen and juniors) against the red classes (students who entered in even years/sophomores and seniors). Most students wear a white T-shirt to this “battle,” which involves slinging as much paint as possible on your opponents, resulting in a unique memento of the event. A winner is usually declared, but it really doesn’t matter which team gets the most paint on the other because “red + green = blue!”

Color Wars is a friendly “battle” of red and green paint.

Oktoberfest is organized by the Longwood Geist Chapter of Mortar Board, a national union of senior honor societies whose mission includes recognizing and encouraging leadership and establishing opportunities for a meaningful exchange of ideas.

—Sabrina Brown