Since 1991 Shocktoberfest has been Wichita State’s annual celebration of Shocker spirit and pride. Beyond uniting Shockers through events and programs, many competitions are offered in which groups come together to compete for the Shocktoberfest trophy, standing over five feet tall.

Over the years Shocktoberfest has seen many events come and go as the needs and interests of students have changed. The most recent addition to Shocktoberfest includes the WSU sponsored Pumpkin Run, a program which brings together Shockers from all ages from the campus and community to participate in a registered 5K and walk. In 2012, Shocktoberfest moved further into the month of October and left behind Mud Events, which still remains a long standing SAC tradition, now hosted in September. Active competitions are always a feature and have included events like 3 on 3 basketball and dodge ball. 2007 was the last year of a video competition which was replaced with Songfest in 2008, a lip syncing and dance competition that now concludes Shocktoberfest.

Prior to being hosted by the Student Activities Council, Shocktoberfest was a picnic sponsored by the Alumni Association that took place during Homecoming week. In 1979, the picnic was referred to as the Pre-Game Homecoming Picnic. Over the years, the picnic grew from being just food and drinks before the game to being one of the biggest parties on campus. In addition to the event’s activities growing and changing over the years, so did the name for the picnic. In 1982, Alumni renamed the event “Oktoberfest” featuring a German theme that included a polka band, dancers, and other German specialties. According to findings in WSU publications, 2000 people attended the first Oktoberfest. In 1983, the event became “Shocker Oktoberfest” followed by “Shocktoberfest” in 1984. While the event continued to grow, the name “Shocktoberfest” remained.

Following the 1986 football season, the football program ended after 16 years of struggling to rebuild after the plane crash of 1970. While campus continued Homecoming in 1987, even in the absence of a football team, Shocktoberfest suffered and became a much smaller event. By 1988, the Alumni Association had discontinued Shocktoberfest altogether. As the campus continued the celebration of WSU spirit, Homecoming morphed and changed. In 1990, Homecoming was turned over to the Student Activities Council who, in 1991, brought a drastic change to the program. SAC decided to change Homecoming into a fall festival called “Shocktoberfest,” a week that still played host to some of the more traditional events during Homecoming such as mud volleyball, but also incorporated many new activities. Over the next few years, as Shocktoberfest evolved, many other events were added to celebrate WSU pride. In addition to new events, the concept of Homecoming Royalty was replaced with Man and Woman of the Year in 1992. Man and Woman of the Year now serves as a stand-alone event hosted by Student Involvement.

The love of being a Shocker is not only for students and does not leave once you receive your diploma. The pride runs deep and so does tradition. In spring of 2010, the Alumni Association, with the support of its membership, brought back Homecoming to the WSU campus. With the tradition of Homecoming restored, Shocktoberfest still remains as the main spirit celebration for the Wichita State Campus. Go Shocks!