COLUMBIA — Freshman Wyatt Christeson had been on campus for only two hours Wednesday night when he found himself in the middle of one of MU's most popular traditions, the Midnight BBQ.
Christeson, who is from Plattsburg, said he enjoyed the music at the barbecue most.
“I’m Pretty Reckless, by which I mean I’m into the band of that name,” he said. “This is just amazing.”
The barbecue drew thousands of excited students to Rollins Street. The event, which is part of the Fall Welcome Week, featured food, games and music.
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Chants of "M-I-Z" — "Z-O-U” filled the air at midnight. Throughout the night, a disc jockey played popular numbers that included slow, soulful beats such as “Royals” by the artist Lorde, the viral international sensation “Harlem Shake” and plenty of hip-hop, disco and pop music.
Other Welcome Week events will include:
An all-campus picnic and spirit rally at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Mizzou Rec Center.
A free feast from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Christian Campus House, 704 S. College Ave.
A showing of the movie "Godzilla" at 9 p.m. Friday at the Missouri Theatre.
A concert featuring Cris Crab at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Carnahan Quadrangle.
Step Forward Day, in which students volunteer for community service, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. It begins at Tiger Plaza.
An all-campus pizza party from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Shakespeare's Pizza.
Giant video screens placed opposite the MU Student Center broadcasted not only music videos but also live-streamed the crowd going wild. Students broke into impromptu dance moves all along the street.
Cheng Ouyang, a graduate statistics student, was catching his breath on a bench. “Their dancing speed is too high," he said. "I have never seen such a large group of people dancing together. This is easily the second most happiest moment for me in Mizzou.”
His happiest moment, he said, came earlier in the evening when he was “looking at the clear, clear water in the swimming pool at the Rec Center.”
Even before the dance party began, there was no dearth of entertainment. Inflatable fun — a bungee run, a rodeo bull, and football and basketball tosses — lined the sidewalks.
Students lined up to get their photos taken in a variety of costumes, including Darth Vader masks and oversize eye glasses, and gladly scooped up free ear phones. Some students played a glow-stick version of Capture the Flag.
Junior Nick Hughes and his Great Dane, 3-year-old Truman, who were minor celebrities at the Midnight BBQ last year, were popular this year, too, as people posed for photographs with the pair.
“My dog’s already been in the newspaper last year,” Hughes said.
Hundreds of students formed serpentine queues as they lined up for funnel cakes, Hot Box cookies and strawberry ice cream. Many also signed up to be part of Tiger’s Lair, the official MU student football cheering section.
Hoss's Market and Rotisserie provided pulled pork, chopped beef brisket, potato salad and baked beans. Trish Koetting, owner of the market, said it took two weeks to prepare 470 pounds of pork.
“First, we rub the pork with seasoning, then smoke it for 12 hours, don our gloves and pull the pork manually, then sauce it, freeze it,” she said. MU asked Hoss’s to prepare food for about 3,500 people.
The Department of Student Life, the Department of Student Activities and Missouri Student Association/Graduate Professional Council organized the Midnight BBQ. They expected around 15,000 people to attend.
“The culture at Mizzou, a typical American University, is so new to us”, said Samaikya Valluripally from India, who along with her friend Padmavati, was tasting the numerous delicacies on offer. “But events like this make us feel at home because everyone is simply having fun and it is so easy to fit in.”
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