VEISHEA 2010: Today’s Vision, Tomorrow’s Tradition

Parades, carnivals, cherry pies, performances, and open houses are examples of many VEISHEA traditions which at one point in time had their first appearance on the Iowa State campus, eventually becoming traditions of today’s celebrations. In honor of this year’s VEISHEA theme, “Today’s Vision, Tomorrow’s Tradition,” below are just a few “visions” which eventually became VEISHEA traditions and have continued to the present day.  This post is just going to name a few of the VEISHEA traditions which began before the first VEISHEA in 1922 – and which continue today.  Before 1922, many Iowa State divisions celebrated separate spring festivals.  Since these numerous festivities caused much disruption to the students’ studies in the spring, it was decided to combine the separate celebrations into one.  Much of the information we have here in the University Archives on these early spring celebrations come from various publications, such as the yearbook (Bomb), division newsletters, and the Alumnus.  Many of the articles and references from these early publications have been photocopied and put together in what could be called a subject file in the University Archives.

For those of you not familiar with Iowa State and who are wondering what this VEISHEA is, VEISHEA is Iowa State’s week-long, student-run spring celebration.  To find out more, the VEISHEA website can be found here.

Carnival:  The Division of Agriculture’s celebration was the Ag Carnival, first celebrated in May 1912.  The agriculture students put on a carnival in the tradition of the country fair.  Festivities often included a parade, exhibits, concessions, and a dance.

Concession stand for the 1914 Ag Carnival.  Student food stands can still be found on campus during VEISHEA.

Cherry pies: Now a much-loved VEISHEA tradition, cherry pies were originally sold during Home Economics Day (celebrated in February) beginning in 1920.

Cherry pies of the 1922 Home Economics Day.

Parade: Several of the early divisional celebrations included a parade, including the engineer’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and the agricultural students’ Ag Carnival parade.  For more on the engineer’s first St. Patrick’s day celebration, see an earlier post.

Although not labeled as such, this 1910 image of the engineer’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration is probably their first parade one hundred years ago, on their way either to or from the “village” of Ames.  Luckily the parade these days takes place in a much safer location!

To find out more about VEISHEA and the early divisional celebrations…come visit us!  We also have a web exhibit on VEISHEA, which includes a bibliography of resources here in Special Collections.  In addition, a selection of photographs from our university photograph collection can be found in the library’s Digital Collections.  There are also other images on our Flickr site, and films on YouTube.

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