The 2023 HoptoberFest began on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at Keyser Quad with an event-filled kickoff. Following the kickoff, a variety of other events were hosted throughout the weekend, including a Show Day on Oct. 12, Friday Frights on Oct. 13, and a concert on Oct. 14.
Organized by the Hopkins Student Organization for Programming Events (the HOP), Hoptoberfest is a yearly tradition at Hopkins and usually includes carnival games, beer tasting (for those 21 and older) and a headliner concert on Saturday. This year, the concert starred Rick Ross and the band Coin.
Chairs of the Traditions Committee of the HOP Angala Rajasegaran and Cassie Eckert communicated the changes made to this year’s festival in an email to The News-Letter.
“One new activity was having hot chocolate and apple cider catered by Hopkins Dining for Show Day (Thursday), which was in a DIY format,” they wrote. “Students seemed to really enjoy this format! We were also very excited about the concert this year, as we were able to book two amazing artists instead of just one, which meant that the two different artists catered to a wider proportion of the student body.”
Some of the events included in the Kickoff were the T-Shirt giveaway, pumpkin picking and bouncy castle race. Over 1,200 students signed up on Hopkins Groups, and hundreds were in attendance throughout the afternoon.
In an interview with The News-Letter, Junior Maria Reyes stated that she enjoys coming to Hoptoberfest every year, especially for the activities.
“This is probably my favorite Hopkins fest. I really like the fall vibes, and we get a free pumpkin,” she said. “I think the activities are really fun to do with your friends. Me and my friends usually compete for the games.”
There were long lines for almost every activity, from the High Striker to the multiple food stations. In particularly high demand were Hoptoberfest T-shirts, as the event ran out of all sizes of shirts before the end of the afternoon.
Reyes also expressed her excitement with the good weather and openness of Hoptoberfest this year, as the event had been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions in past years. Junior Sabrina Li echoed this sentiment in an interview with The News-Letter, stating that the event has improved since she arrived at Hopkins.
“For me, it's only gotten better because my freshman year was the COVID year,” she said. “It’s been fun. I even got tickets [for the concert] already.”
Rajasegaran and Eckert also commented on the improvements made to Hoptoberfest since the start of the pandemic. In addition to a larger scale this year compared to pre-pandemic years, the event was also organized differently from last October, as the Traditions Committee took on organizational responsibility from a group of students.
“Prior to 2022, Hoptoberfest was an independently run organization at Hopkins with a group of students that were solely responsible for planning the week-long festivities,” they wrote. “In 2022, we merged into the student organization The HOP as the Traditions Committee. Although the integration process was challenging at first, it actually helped organizational difficulties post-pandemic, because it provided us with more membership support.”
Hoptoberfest continued after the kickoff event with a show day on Thursday, which included several student group performances and showcases. Reyes conveyed her excitement for the event, especially for her friend’s participation.
“I really like the little changes they do every year, [like] how they had a petting zoo once,” she said. “This time, they have a student showcase, and I'm really excited to see my friend perform. She's in the acapella group, The Sirens.”
The festival continued with Friday Frights at Nevermore Haunt in downtown Baltimore. Tickets eventually sold out due to high demand.
The series of events came to an end on Saturday with performances by Rick Ross and Coin in the Rec Center. Over 1,400 students signed up for the concert on Hopkins Groups. As Hoptoberfest came to an end, Rajasegaran and Eckert commented on their overall goals for this weeklong tradition.
“We hope that students were able to take a break from studying to enjoy the fall weather, have some fun, and connect with their classmates,” they wrote. “Sometimes Hopkins students get so caught up in academic achievement that they forget to enjoy the college experience, so we hope to provide events that students across campus can enjoy and remember.”