The month of August symbolizes a lot of things. The weather, the Iowa State Fair, the start of football, the Chicago Cubs shutting it down for the season, and the start of school.
Another tradition that falls in August is the annual Wartburg College alumni picnic, or as my fellow Knights call it, “Outfly.” The tradition of Outfly traces back to the 1890s and is sometimes called by its German name, “Ausflug.” Outfly is a student-initiated, one-day holiday (translation = no classes for the day. Evening classes are still held). It occurs once a year during the Fall Term on campus. No one knows when it will happen, except the student body president and the college president.
The tradition of Outfly has extended beyond campus to bringing alumni together in the form of picnics throughout the Midwest.
This week, Wartburg did a double dip and hosted two Outfly picnics, in Ankeny and West Des Moines, respectively. Similar to Iowa, ISU, and UNI, Wartburg has a lot of alumni in the Des Moines area. Many will say that it’s unusual for small colleges to have so many graduates live in one area, especially the largest city in the state of Iowa. We’re nowhere close to the large numbers that Iowa and ISU cranks out, but there’s something about small colleges that is special.
I don’t have the words for it right now. That’s something I can think of as I head out to the State Fair this afternoon.