By Megan Sando
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Shots fired from Pistol Pete’s gun and the community chanted O-S-U to begin the annual Harvest Carnival and Chili Cook-Off at the Payne County Expo Center Tuesday.
Children, parents, grandparents, students and alumni gathered as part of Oklahoma State University’s Homecoming dubbed “America’s Greatest Homecoming Celebration."
“It’s a nice environment for games, candy and prizes,” said Tesha Um.
Her two sons played the “Whack-a-Frog” game. The game is a play on Texas Christian University’s mascot, the Horned Frogs, OSU’s opponent Saturday.
“It’s a great community event for a good cause,” her husband Greg Um said.
The Harvest Carnival is OSU’s oldest homecoming tradition.
Last year, 15,800 pounds were collected for the Harvest II charity, said Blayne Horn, Harvest Carnival promotional design executive. At the end of the night, cans are counted and will be delivered to the Stillwater Junior Service League.
Homecoming Executive Director Blake Wieland said cans will go to help the less fortunate.
Inside, at the Chili Cook-Off, visitors were official taste testers to go toward the People’s Choice Award for best chili.
Three dollars pays for a bowl. At the end of the night, the organization with the most tickets captured the honor.
Wieland said he couldn’t put a number to the amount of people volunteering, but every student is involved in some way.
“This is the 101st carnival,” Horn said. “It is the beginning of a new century for the event."
On whether there will be changes to the tradition, Wieland and Horn said they anticipate room for improvement.
“In the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, it was trial and error,” Wieland said. “We are constantly adapting."