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Guard The Lion Shrine Tradition Expanding To Festival

Every year, Penn State students and alumni dedicate the Friday night before homecoming to protecting the Nittany Lion Shrine after an incident of vandalism in 1966. This year, the popular tradition will see a new twist added to the festivities.

A festival surrounding the guarding of the Nittany Lion Shrine will be held as part of the Penn State’s homecoming festivities on Friday, November 10. The Blue & White Society will host the event along with the Penn State Alumni Association and the Lion Ambassadors. Free food from Packer’s Concessions will be provided to students with a valid PSU ID.

The addition of a festival-like atmosphere is a welcome change for the event, and one that Lion Ambassadors vice president Tommy Slotcavage thinks will help attract people to the shrine on the night of November 10.

“This year, Lion Ambassadors, the Blue & White Society, and the Alumni Association are working together to put on a much larger-scale event with a two-pronged goal,” Slotcavage said. “The goal is to attract students, as well as young alumni. The Alumni Association has been reaching out to alumni, whereas Lion Ambassadors and the Blue & White Society are trying to get as many students out as possible.”

The festival will take place from 9 p.m. to midnight, featuring a two-hour concert from State College favorite Go Go Gadjet. Sue Paterno will also deliver a speech on the history of the Nittany Lion Shrine, along with other guest speakers who haven’t been announced yet.

Paterno is largely responsible for the beginning of the tradition of guarding the shrine. She, along with a friend, covered the famous statue in orange paint ahead of a football game against Syracuse. Their motive for this was to generate hype for the football game and the paint was easily removable, so no real harm was done.

However, a group of Syracuse fans then came and covered the Lion in an oil-based orange paint, which was much more difficult to clean off. They were never identified or caught for this, so this popular Penn State tradition was born to help protect the famous shrine.

“Come celebrate an old tradition with a new twist,” Slotcavage said. “We’ve been doing this project for more than 30 years. Come celebrate, understand and learn about the old traditions we’re still learning to this day. Come listen to Go Go Gadjet perform, get some food, hang out, and see the Penn State community as a whole.”

You can find more information on the event’s Facebook page.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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