Smoke from the grills at the Ag Day barbeque billowed in the sky.
Students, community members and alumni alike flooded the south parking lot of Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium Saturday, and lines of hungry football fans donning green and gold formed around the barbeque entrance.
For some, Ag Day is a tradition, bringing loyal families and friends back year after year to show their support and dedication to CSU and the College of Agricultural Sciences.
“In my family, you hold your hand over your heart when you talk about Ag Day,” said Dennis Lyon, 58, who graduated from the agricultural college in 1970.
Others, like Beth Barbie, were just beginning their Ag Day tradition this year.
“I came because my friends came and it sounded delicious,” said the senior finance major. “This is definitely something I’d want to do next year and the year after.”
Ag Day has come a long way since its start 25 years ago. During its first year, Ag Day was based out of one small tent with a couple hundred people in attendance.
This year’s event generated a crowd of close to 3,500 with many tents set up showcasing a variety of foods as well as a large number of booths displaying clubs and organizations related to Colorado agriculture.
The proceeds from Ag Day go toward providing students from the College of Agricultural Sciences with scholarship money.
Jessica Mertens, who received scholarships in the past, returned the favor this year by volunteering at the event.
“I just wanted to give something back,” Mertens said.
Those who provided foods for the barbeque come from all over Colorado and have different levels of experience with Ag Day. For the first time this year, Sunblessed Farms, based out of Fort Lupton, joined the Ag Day celebration to promote its jumbo grape tomatoes.
Kevin Abram, 47, who works for Sunblessed Farms, said that they had not attended Ag Day before because they had not known about it.
“It’s a great opportunity.” Abram said.
Ag Day participants swarmed the tents with their heaping plates. Sounds of laughter and chatter filled the air as new and old friends bonded over the Colorado-grown food.
For Crystal Korrey, a senior political science major, the barbeque was pure bliss.
“I came out here for the food,” Korrey said. “This is my idea of heaven, booths of roasted meat.”
While many people came out to enjoy the foods, for others it was an opportunity to be with friends.
“I have a lot of friends in the department so a lot of them are here,” said Andrea Talley, a junior English education major.
Ag Day also gave CSU alumni a chance to catch up with old friends.
“All of the Ag people are here,” said College of Agriculture alumni Laura Coleman, 25. “I can see old friends and catch up on the latest and greatest.”
Staff writer Lyndsey Struthers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.