Dia festivities rock campus

The members of the Kamikaze Fireflies juggle flaming torches while standing on stilts and a student at Diadeloso on Thursday at Fountain Mall. Meagan Downing | Lariat Photographer
The members of the Kamikaze Fireflies juggle flaming torches while standing on stilts and a student at Diadeloso on Thursday at Fountain Mall.
Meagan Downing | Lariat Photographer

By Jaime Lim

Thursday was Diadeloso, the one day of the year every student looks forward to. Filled with warm Texas weather, relaxation and entertainment, Dia provides students with a time to celebrate being a Baylor Bear.

On this day of celebration, students are free from the worries of class and instead get to participate in athletic competitions and dog shows, see the Dia Queen crowned, visit organizations’ booths, ride camels, watch a lineup of talented musical artists, and stay generally entertained.

This year’s Dia theme was “A Reason to Celebrate.” The day, which is organized by Baylor Chamber of Commerce, embraced the legacy of the well-known Baylor tradition, which began in 1934.

“I think everything is turning out really well,” said Pauline Minnaar, Chester, N.J. sophomore and Chamber Diadeloso Assistant. “The campus looks great with everyone out here and everyone is having a wonderful time.”

While students favor this tradition, the celebration wasn’t just for them. Faculty and the Waco community joined in on the festivities, and there was a kid’s zone next to the Carroll Science Building.

The day’s festivities started with a Zumba fitness party and performances by the Baylor Swing Dance Society and the Baylor Dance Company, including a fast-paced kick routine to “Cell Block Tango” from the famous Broadway show “Chicago.”

“It was [my] first time to do Zumba and the instructor was really good. Everyone seemed like they were having fun,” Austin junior Lexi Yurkobich said.

Although Dia is a day of camaraderie, competition ensues and winners must be named. Army ROTC took the Diadeloso 2012 Champion title in athletic events, participating in activities such as basketball, dodgeball and tug-of-war. McGregor junior Carrie Cooper was named Dia Queen, and owners eagerly participated in the Dia Dog Show.

Camel rides, a comedy hypnosis show and new artists like KamiKaze Fireflies – whose performance was a trick of all trades, including giant metal clubs, stilts and fire – kept Dia-goers entertained throughout the day and excited for the tradition.

“I’m excited and I like [Diadeloso] because there are so many people here, and I’ve been looking forward to the camel rides for a while,” Houston graduate student Heather Mooney said.

Booths from student organizations, like Baylor’s Army ROTC, allowed groups to get their names out on campus.

San Antonio sophomore Matt Pederson said, “We have a push-up and sit-up station, and depending on how many you do, you can win prizes. We have football and basketball tosses, which you can also win prizes from.”

Musical acts included Uproar artists O, Loveland, and Fifth and Fite, opening artist Ty Mayfield and headliner Parachute.

“I really like Fifth and Fite. They’re original and different,” Waco freshman Annie Carr said.

Mayfield is an artist from Oklahoma and was a fan favorite at last year’s Dia, while Parachute is an up-and-coming rock band from Virginia. Despite long wait times – Parachute took the stage an hour later than scheduled – students enjoyed the performance.

Seventy-eight years later, Dia is still one of Baylor’s most loved traditions, providing students with a well-deserved break, and Thursday was no exception. Diadeloso Chairman Bo Rose said the event was a great success. When compared to previous celebrations of Dia, he said he considered this one to be one of the best.