Turnout huge for annual bonfire

Samuel Sutton

The cross country team carries their torches in the torchlight parade, an event part of Homecoming week, starting on Comanche Trail by the Daniel building, Oct. 29. Photo by Rachel Johnson
The cross country team carries torches in the torchlight parade, an event part of Homecoming week, starting on Comanche Trail by the Daniel Building, Oct. 29. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Fire, tradition, and school spirit – just some of the highlights of the Homecoming bonfire. The turnout was huge, just like Kevin Bazner, the assistant director of Student Development and Orientation, predicted.

“Since there are more people living on campus this year, I think we will have a much larger turnout than previous years,” Bazner predicted before the event.  Bazner predicted more than 1,000 students would attend.

To cover the large crowds, Student Development and Orientation bought 700 shirts, and more than 800 tiki torches, which costed about $2,000. The stage costed $500, and the pallets were donated by Pallet Outlet Inc.

The bonfire platform was built smaller than previous years so students could could enjoy a safe and fun traditional event.

“We wanted to create a manageable size that’s safe and enjoyable for all students in attendance,” Matthew Park, dean of students, said.

The size of the bonfire was a little upsetting to some students at the beginning of the event.

“It seems a little small. I hope it doesn’t cause the fire to be small because that’s always the best part,” Adam Sutton, business finance sophomore, said. “I have gone to every bonfire since I’ve been here, and I haven’t been disappointed. I will definitely come back next year.”

Robert Lukeman, computer science junior, said, “I thought it would be a little bigger. I’m sort of a pyromaniac, so I hope its big.”

The fire turned out to be bigger than they thought it would be.

Lukeman said, “It was awesome, man. The fire was huge. I had to get out of the way a few times to avoid shards of fire.”

Ian Glasgow, computer science sophomore, said, “the fire was crazy. It was much bigger, and much better than last year’s fire.”

Tradition was a primary reason that students, all 1,300 of them, came out to see the bonfire.

Jordan Phillips, a radiology freshman, said,”I had to come out and show some school spirit. I wanted to see this big traditional event that everyone talked about.”

Glasgow said, “I want to be a part of the tradition and spirit of the campus before I have to graduate.”

The one thing that students complained about was the gasoline smell.

“It was really strong. I had to turn my head and cover my face a few times so I wouldn’t smell it,” Becca Rhone, special education junior, said.

Lindsey Johnson, a senior in general business, said, “I loved the event, I loved the fire, but I did not love the smell. I still watched it, but I had to suffer through a headache the whole time.”

The police set up the grounds on Wednesday, blocking the parking spaces for the pallets and the sand.

Park said, “they didn’t block off the whole lot until the day of the event because they didn’t want to inconvenience students. They only blocked off a part of it.”

The bonfire took about 10 hours to set up.

“We spent two hours laying the 25 tons of sand that covered 40 feet long and 20 feet wide. Then we took four hours putting together the pallets. The clean-up will take four more hours tomorrow,” Armando Muniz, the ground maintenance superintendent, said. “It’s definitely worth it. The students are always excited to see the fire.”