This Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 marks 131 years since classes first began at Rollins College in 1885. To celebrate and commemorate the birthday of our school, R-Pride hosted Founder’s Day on Tuesday with a fun birthday celebration outside of the Campus Center. However, many layers of history have accumulated during the past century, and there is an interesting history behind the Founder’s Day event that may have us questioning our current Rollins spirit.
Founder’s Fest is a recently developed event that evolved from the rebirth of an old Rollins tradition, Fiesta. Four years ago, in 2013, R-Pride brought back Fiesta for the “I Heart Rollins” week’s celebrations. It is certainly a Homecoming-styled event, complete with a Fiesta King and Queen. They were inspired to bring back the event after learning from alumni about the grandeur that the occasion used to hold.
Fiesta began in 1937 and lasted until the 1960s, when it sadly ended due to a lack of funding. However, the interesting part about Fiesta is that in its heyday, it was an extremely involved event. It was celebrated by the entire town of Winter Park, and according to a 1955 program for the event, it included a parade, specialized floats, baseball games (Rollins v. Ohio State), and an orchestra performance during the crowing of the King and Queen.
Being that there is nearly no trace of it left today, it is odd to imagine that an event so spirited was an integral part of the Rollins and Winter Park history 70 years ago. It leaves one a bit quizzical of the current integrity of pride and spirit at Rollins College. However, there is always Fox Day to reinstate the belief in the Rollins spirit and camaraderie!