Shocktoberfest is Wichita State’s annual celebration of Shocker spirit and pride. Shocktoberfest is a series of events that occur over the span of a week in which students and student groups can compete for points to be the winners of Shocktoberfest as well as to celebrate Shocker spirit.
Shocktoberfest began as a picnic sponsored by the Alumni Association that took place on one day during Homecoming week. In 1979, this picnic was referred to as the Pre-Game Homecoming Picn ic. Over the years, the picnic grew from being just food and drinks before the game to being one of the biggest parties on campus. In addition to the event’s activities growing and changing over the years, so did the name for the picnic. From 1979-1981, the event was always a pre-game party and picnic. In 1982, Alumni renamed the event “Oktoberfest” featuring a German theme that included a polka band, dancers, and German specialties. According to findings in WSU publications, 2000 people attended the first Oktoberfest. In 1983, the event became “Shocker Oktoberfest” followed by “Shocktoberfest” in 1984. While the event continued to grow, the name “Shocktoberfest” remained.
Following the 1986 football season, the football program ended after 16 years of struggling to rebuild after the plane crash of 1970. While campus continued Homecoming in 1987, even in the absence of a football team, Shocktoberfest suffered and became a much smaller event. By 1988, the Alumni Association had discontinued Shocktoberfest altogether. As the campus continued the celebration of WSU spirit, Homecoming morphed and changed. In 1990, Homecoming was turned over to the Student Activities Council who, in 1991, brought a drastic change to Homecoming. SAC decided to change Homecoming into a fall festival called “Shocktoberfest,” a week that still played host to some of the more traditional events during Homecoming such as mud volleyball, but also incorporated many new activities. Over the next few years, as Shocktoberfest evolved, many other events were added to celebrate WSU pride. In addition to new events, the concept of Homecoming Royalty was replaced with Man and Woman of the Year.
Over the years Shocktoberfest has seen many events come and go as the needs and interests of students have changed. Currently, Shocktoberfest kicks off on a Saturday in October with Mud Events at Hughes Metroplex. The following week is filled with various competition and spirit events that change from year to year based on the theme and the students’ interests. Some of the more common events over the years have been the banner competition, a movie viewing, breakfast with President Beggs, door decorating competition, 3 on 3 basketball, and dodge ball. A few years ago the video competition was replaced with Songfest, a lip syncing and dance competition that now concludes Shocktoberfest.
The love of being a Shocker is not only for students and does not leave once you receive your diploma. The pride runs deep and so does tradition. In spring 2010, the Alumni Association, with the support of its membership, brought back Homecoming to the WSU campus. With the tradition of Homecoming restored, Shocktoberfest still remains as the main spirit celebration for the Wichita State Campus. Go Shox!