D-Week features Great Race, pancake breakfast, bouncy ball record setting

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University will celebrate “100 years of rock solid tradition” during its annual D-Week, taking place April 13-18 with various activities and events held on and off campus in St. George.

D-Week logo | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News
D-Week logo | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

This year’s celebration centers around the 100th anniversary of the “D,” which is displayed on the Black Hill overlooking St. George. Constructed in the lava rocks on the hill in 1915, the “D” has served as a focal point of the institution’s traditions and storied history.

“Our ‘D’ on the hillside so bold, cherished emblem of them all,” said Kalynn Larson, DSU Alumni Association Director, quoting the DSU school song written by A.K. Hafen. “It evokes feelings of welcome, tradition, and gives everyone who lives here a sense of belonging. The ‘D’ continues to elicit strong emotions in the hearts and minds of students, alumni and Southern Utahns alike.”

Celebrated as Dixie State’s secondary homecoming, D-Week can be traced as far back as 1914, three years after the institution’s founding, as a chance for Dixie alumni, students, faculty and staff, as well as the community, to come together in a reunion setting for a week of activities.

Monday

The full slate of the D-Week events begins Monday with a D-Week kickoff at the Diagonal and Holland Plaza from 8:30 a.m.-noon, including a free pancake breakfast and music. This will be followed by performances as part of the “Dixie Idol” competition at noon in the Gardner Center living room. The opening day activities will conclude with a special food fest event at the Encampment Mall beginning at 6 p.m.

Tuesday

On Tuesday, the annual D-Queen Pageant will be held in the DSU Avenna Center Cox Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets for the pageant can be purchased for $5 at the Avenna Center ticket office. For ticket information, call 435-652-7800 or visit the DSU ticket website.

Wednesday

Wednesday’s activities include the finale of “Dixie Idol” and a special performance by magician Joel Ward, sponsored by DSUSA, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Gardner Center Ballroom.

Thursday

Thursday, all are invited to try and break a world record for bouncy ball bouncing at the DSU Hurst Baseball Stadium parking lot starting at 6 p.m. There will be free ice cream and live entertainment.

Man swimming through the mud during the Great Race, St. George, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News
Man swims through mud during the Great Race, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

Friday

To many, D-Week’s signature event is the Great Race, which will take place Friday at 5 p.m. at Hansen Stadium. More than 30 10-member teams are expected to relay their way across campus by foot, mountain bike, roller blades, water, mud and more.

The inaugural Great Race occurred in 1971, but the event’s origins can be traced back as far as 1964 as a bicycle race around the Black Hill near the former airport. The first official Great Race included such events as motocross, horseback riding, and tubing down the Virgin River.

Community growth and safety concerns eventually forced the race to be moved to the friendly confines of the DSU campus. In addition to the traditional running, biking and swimming, Great Racers now have to negotiate a slip-and-slide track, a Rollerblade course, a Dixie trivia question, and the dreaded mud pit throughout the 10-leg relay course.

Following the Great Race, the annual free D-Week barbecue and carnival will be held at the Hansen Stadium south practice field at 6 p.m. All are invited to participate in the Great Race, carnival and concert festivities. For more information on the Great Race or to enter a team, contact the DSU Alumni Office at 435-652-7535.

Saturday

DSU will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the “D” with a free community breakfast on April 18 from 8-9:30 a.m. at St. George Town Square, 50 S. Main St. The breakfast will include a brief program featuring performances by the Dixie State Jazz Band and Raging Red; and remarks from DSU President Dr. Richard B. Williams, St. George Mayor Jon Pike, and Dr. Ron Snow, grandson of Leo Snow, who served as the surveyor and led the construction of the “D” 100 years ago.

Following the breakfast at 10 a.m., the DSU Alumni Association will host a centennial whitewashing of the “D” onsite at the Black Hill. DSU will provide free bus shuttle service to and from the St. George Town Square to the “D” for attendees who wish to take part in the event.

In addition, the St. George chapter of the DSU Alumni Association will host an “Evening of Dixie,” which will take those in attendance on a fun look back at Dixie’s more than  100-year history. The evening will feature the Raging Red Show Choir and former members of the old Dixie College’s Program Bureau. The “Evening of Dixie” is a free event that will begin Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Eccles Fine Arts Center Mainstage Theater.

The D-Day dance will wrap up the festivities later that evening at 9 p.m. in the Gardner Center Plaza, followed by the annual “True Rebel Night” event held at midnight at the Tanner Fountain.

Event details and resources

  • What: Dixie State University’s D-Week
  • Monday, April 13
    • 8:30 a.m.-noon: kickoff | Diagonal/Centennial Common. Enjoy a free pancake breakfast and music, and receive a free D-Week T-shirt.
    • Noon: Dixie Idol Performance | Gardner Center Living Room
    • 6-8 p.m. Food Fest | North Encampment Mall
  • Tuesday, April 14
    • 7:30 p.m. D-Queen Pageant | Cox Auditorium, cost is $5
  • Wednesday, April 15
    • 7:30 p.m. Wednes-D Magician and Dixie Idol Finale | Gardner Ballroom
  • Thursday, April 16
    • 6 p.m. Break a World Record Event | Softball Parking Lot. Free ice cream and live entertainment.
  • Friday, April 17
    • 5 p.m. Great Race | Hansen Stadium. Great race team packet information
    • 6 p.m. Carnival | Lower Hansen Stadium
  • Saturday, April 18
    • 8 a.m. Breakfast | St. George Town Square
    • 9:30 a.m. Buses begin shuttling from Town Square to the “D” on the hill
    • 10:15 a.m. Centennial Photo Outlining the “D” | Up on the Black Hill
    • 10:30 a.m. White Wash “D” | Up on the Black Hill
    • 7 p.m. Evening of Dixie | Eccles Main Stage
    • 9-11:45 p.m. D-Day Dance | Holland Centennial Commons Plaza
    • Midnight True Rebel | Fountain
  • Contact: Jordon Sharp, 435-652-7513, jsharp@dixie.edu or Kalynn Larson, 435-652-7535, Larson@dixie.edu
  • Dixie State University website

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