Brookings businesses to be hopping with Hobo Day alumni

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Jackrabbit alumni who are “homeward bound” for Hobo Day, as well as current students, visitors and Brookings residents, will find plenty to do in Brookings over the weekend.

Jennifer Johnson, executive director of the Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the economic impact of Hobo Day visitors is estimated to be $946,440, including revenue from the football game, lodging and shopping.

Johnson said Hobo Day is a great day for the Brookings area because many Brookings residents celebrate Hobo Day with South Dakota State University.

“A lot of our community is really invested in SDSU and likes to participate in those activities as well,” Johnson said.

Michele Evink, a 1989 alumna who is now a pharmacist in Osceola, Iowa, said she loves Hobo Day because it is a time to reunite with friends. Evink said she has missed no more than six Hobo Days since graduating, and looks forward to returning again this year.

“I like that it’s a celebration for South Dakota; that people from all over South Dakota can come,” Evink said. “And certainly it’s homecoming, but I don’t feel like that’s the only thing it is. It feels to me more like a South Dakota celebration than just a homecoming.”

Chris Anderegg, Cook’s Kitchen manager, said sales increase about 10 percent on Hobo Day, especially if weather during the parade isn’t the best. He said people frequently come in to enjoy hot coffee or a roll Saturday morning.

Todd Fergen, co-owner of Nick’s Hamburger Shop, said he sees “absolutely tons” of alumni on Hobo Day.

George’s Pizza assistant kitchen manager Dylan Gilk said, “It gets crazy; we get a lot more customers on Hobo Day. I’d say we get close to quadruple in sales.”

If the bar scene is of any interest, both Nick’s and George’s will also both have late-night food windows open until bars close at 2 a.m. Saturday night.

Prairie Lanes Bowling Alley’s Les Nelson said they “can’t cook the food fast enough on Sunday” during their brunch 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday morning.

Wooden Legs Brewing Company offers blue and gold SDSU Fancakes beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday. Meal costs are a freewill donation to a local charity.

The Brookings Farmer’s Market will be open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday morning for people who want to shop from local farmers and entrepreneurs before the football game.

The Pink Ladies State Dart Tournament will happen Hobo Weekend at the Swiftel Center. The Pink Ladies are a group of local women who donate all proceeds from their dart tournament to help fight cancer.

For the more adventurous crowds, the Fear Asylum will be open Friday and Saturday 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. Johnson recommends adults who are comfortable in a haunted house atmosphere attend, and leave the kids at home. The Fear Asylum is South Dakota’s number one haunted attraction and has the largest budget of a haunted attraction in the state. It is open to teens and adults.

While there are also many other attractions and things to do in Brookings during Hobo Day, don’t forget about the Hobo Day parade at 9:30 a.m., the football game at 2 p.m. and the volleyball game at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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