During the week of Sept. 26, 2021, sophomores first experienced Oktoberfest in its entirety while being students on Longwood University’s campus.
Oktoberfest Spirit Week is a time for students to take a break from normal routines and have fun with friends and family. Festivities officially commenced with the Kickoff Bonfire on Sept. 26. Throughout the week, various festivities were held including the STEP@LU Service Walk, Color Wars, live music, and tabling by clubs and organizations.
An abbreviated Oktoberfest took place during in the fall of 2020, but the event did not compare to the regular festivities the beloved Longwood tradition normally holds. Last year’s Oktoberfest was significantly smaller and many of the regular traditions were not held due to COVID-19.
However, some sophomores had experienced Oktoberfest before. Tyler Kurtz said, “I was an Oktoberfest Klown last year and got to be involved even though it was during the pandemic.” Although Kurtz attended last year’s modified Oktoberfest, he and other sophomores were eager to experience all the beloved Longwood traditions during the week. Said sophomore Collin Gilbert, “There are so many things that we haven’t experienced before as freshmen, so Oktoberfest is just another event that I am excited to finally experience.”
On Saturday, clubs and organizations set up booths to sell a wide array of items, which took an immense amount of planning. Many who are in clubs and organizations, however, did not quite understand how tabling would work. Said Amber Schmitt, the special project chair for Sigma Sigma Sigma, “I have no idea what Saturday is going to look like. I would say my biggest thing about Oktoberfest is how stressed I was planning for it.”
According to Schmitt, she worried all week about being an upperclassman and not having the experience yet. “People really expected me to know certain things regarding Oktoberfest, but I didn’t,” she admitted. “That’s what happens when you’re the one planning the booth.”
Sophomore Erin Salzman concurred. “I am not 100% sure what Saturday will be like,” said Salzman, “but I’m excited to represent the Student Nursing Association and ADPI on Saturday at Oktoberfest. I’m really passionate about my involvement in these groups, and I can’t wait to share that with other people that stop by the booths.”
Many sophomores were asked about certain aspects of Oktoberfest by underclassmen, but they were not able to answer them. Gilbert acknowledged that many freshmen asked him about Color Wars, but he was not able to answer their questions.
Although sophomores will only experience three Oktoberfest celebrations throughout their time as Lancers, they are happy that the freshmen get to experience the tradition as it was pre-pandemic. Kurtz said, “I’m excited that we will all be experiencing something kind of new together. I want everyone to enjoy their time there and make memories that will last a lifetime.”
While their freshmen year was not what they expected, Longwood sophomores took this setback in stride and made the best out of the situation. The overall excitement to experience all that Oktoberfest had to offer was strong, especially among the Class of 2024.