Thumpin’ Thursday Welcomes Students and Faculty to Brookings

Char Telkamp

Char Telkamp

Every fall thousands of students, faculty and staff return to South Dakota State University. Thumpin’ Thursday was created as a way to welcome them back to the campus, and introduce them to the products and services downtown Brookings has to offer them.

The third annual event was held this last week, with a free BBQ meal, parade by the Pride of the Dakotas marching band, a pep rally and a dance.

The BBQ meal served about 1,000 people and the pep rally featured athletes from the cross-counry, volleyball and soccer teams. The football team was already out of town for their game. SDSU President Peggy Miller, Brookings Mayor Scott Munstermon, and Jerry Miller, Downtown Brookings’ Inc. president also addressed the crowd. SA President Eric Erikson, Miss Brookings and Miss SDSU were also in attendance.

The first such event was held in 2000 and was called ‘Friday Fantastic’.

“We wanted the event to be held on Fridays before a home game,” Doris Roden, of Downtown Brookings, Inc., said. “But this time of the year a lot of the students were still heading home for the weekends. So we moved it to Thursdays. Thursdays seems to work out well, the stores are open later that night.”

The concept to showcase Brookings products and services is growing each year.

“Cold weather set it back this year,” Roden said. “But the concept is growing. Each year more and more people attend. People think about it being just for students, but faculty and staff are just as important to the community.”

The cold weather not only affected the attendance; the street dance had to be moved inside of the park and recreation building.

“The street dance lost something when we moved it inside,” Roden said. “You didn’t have that sound of music to draw people downtown.”

The time of the event also caused some confusion.

“We were cleaning up and breaking down the tables around 9:30,” Roden said. “When some people showed up thinking the dance would just be starting.”

The committee that plans the Thumpin’ Thursday events consists of around 10-12 people.

“We have a representative from the SDSU athletic and music departments, the Students’ Association, usually someone from the Hobo Day committee and downtown business owners on the committee.” Roden said. “That gives us a pretty good mix. In fact the students picked the band this year. They thought Eclipse was a band the students would enjoy.”

The third Thursday of September has been established now as the date for future Thumpin’ Thursday events.

“We’re looking forward to the fourth annual,” Roden said. “Each year we learn something new and try to make the next one better.”