Bear-ear headbands, games of cornhole and selfies with Boomer the Bear are returning after over a year.
Tailgating in BearFest Village will be held Saturday, Sept. 11, starting at 5 p.m., for the first home football game against Central Arkansas. This will be the first tailgate since the 2019 fall semester.
Due to COVID-19, football tailgates were canceled for the 2020-21 school year.
David Hall, director of university safety, said the university’s administrative council’s goal is for the fall 2021 semester to be as “normal” as possible.
“With vaccinations readily available in May, we knew that anyone who wanted to get vaccinated would have that opportunity by the time our (football) season rolled around,” Hall said. “It’s an outdoor event, which reduces risks.”
Traditions Council President Lily Dunigan encourages students to attend Saturday’s tailgate as it’s an opportunity for students to get to know each other.
“I think tailgates encourage people to get more involved and to support our athletic teams,” Dunigan said. “(Tailgates are) really fun, and I’ve missed having them for the last year and a half.”
According to Hall, no COVID-19 safety precautions will be enforced at BearFest Village. Masking will not be required, as the university does not have an outdoor masking requirement.
The allotted area for BearFest Village has been expanded, but Hall said a larger crowd is anticipated, so spacing of tents and activities will likely be similar to previous years.
“We are in such a different place this semester than we were last year,” Hall said. “The first week of the (fall 2020) semester last year we had 141 (COVID-19 cases reported on campus).”
Nineteen COVID-19 cases were reported on campus during the first week of classes this semester, Aug. 22-28, according to the Missouri State COVID-19 Dashboard.
BearFest Village is located north of Robert W. Plaster Stadium in front of McDonald Arena, extending to Carrington Hall to the east and Hammons Fountains to the west.
The Missouri State Football Bears will play Central Arkansas with kickoff at 7 p.m. at Robert W. Plaster Stadium.
Follow Greta Cross on Twitter, @gretacrossphoto
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