Following a tradition that began in 1875, classes and labor for Berea College students will be cancelled for Berea’s annual Mountain Day celebration on October 18th. This College holiday is set aside as a celebration for “enjoying the fall colors and other natural wonders” in the Berea College Forest.
Berea will celebrate its 142ndt Mountain Day beginning with a sunrise hike starting at 6:30 am. The Berea Concert Choir will greet the sunrise (expected at 7:48 a.m.) with music on the East Pinnacle. Lunch, served by Dining Services at the forest grounds, will be available for purchase from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Events and activities, coordinated by the Student Life office, start at 10 a.m. and conclude at 2 p.m. (See full schedule below.) Berea College alumni are invited to participate in a hike, led by Alumni Office staff, that starts promptly at 9 a.m. at the entrance of Indian Fort Mountain. For more information, visit https://www.berea.edu/alumni/mountainday/.
In addition to hiking to the Pinnacles in the Berea College Forest, Mountain Day activities include contests sponsored by various campus organizations and student clubs, face-painting, and dying t-shirts! Music by campus student groups such as the Black Music Ensemble, Bluegrass Ensemble, Choir, and others, along with dance performances featuring Hip-Hop, Latino, Middle-Eastern, South Asian Fusion and the Berea College Country Dancers provide entertainment and reflect the many cultures served by Berea College. Treats such as Ale-8 drinks, kettle corn, and cotton candy are Mountain Day staples available throughout most of the day.
In the early years of celebrating Mountain Day, students would dress up and hike up the mountain. Eventually, the dress code became less formal and more casual. Originally wagons transported the students to the Indian Fort Mountain, where students took excursions to the Pinnacles with their faculty and labor departments. Various contests called “Pioneer games”—some of which continue today— included log chopping, log tossing and crosscut saw competition, all of which uniquely represent the Appalachian culture embraced by Berea College.