Preserving Historic Hobo Day
Hobo Day is the homecoming celebration for South Dakota State University and includes a parade through campus, Downtown Brookings, a Jackrabbits football game, and many unique traditions. The first Hobo Day occurred on November 2, 1912. Homecoming thrives at South Dakota State University and is the largest one-day event in the state. The return of alumni to their alma mater for a weekend of football, fun, and memories has flourished and grown over the decades, embodying the essence of Jackrabbit Pride.
The Hobo Day collection in the Digital Library of South Dakota contains over 5700 items related to Hobo Day festivities for over 100 years.
The Bummobile is a 1912 Ford Model T donated by Flandreau farmer Frank Weigel in 1938. It has led the Hobo Day Parade every year since 1939, except 1942 when South Dakota State College canceled homecoming during World War II. When it is not in use, it is on display in the Hobo Day Gallery in the Student Union.
Hobo Day buttons have been a tradition for SDSU Homecoming since the 1950s, though the first known Hobo Day button was distributed in 1913. Some buttons reflect the theme for that year, others reflect Jackrabbit football pride. Many depict Weary Wil and Dirty Lil Hobo Day mascots.
The homecoming football game is one of the highlights of Hobo Day. This selection of photos is from the football field and includes photos of football players in games, cheerleaders, The Pride of the Dakotas, halftime events, and some football-themed parade floats.
"The Pride of the Dakotas" performs during the pregame and halftime activities of all home Jackrabbit football games, including the Hobo Day parade. The Pride of the Dakotas is one of the largest "family" organizations on campus. Throughout the years, members of the Pride have forged friendships and memories that have lasted a lifetime.
Historypin is an informal platform for sharing digital artifacts like photos, documents and videos on a map. Anyone can view and add to this community Historypin collection of historic photographs presented in maps, timelines and tours. Get started with this tour of Hobo Day Parade Floats in Downtown Brookings, then add your own photos and memories!
Did we misidentify an image or do you have additional information you would like to share? If so, please contact us. Improving descriptions for photos makes them easier to find and creates a greater legacy for research.
Share Your Legacy!
In 2016, the South Dakota State University Archives received a Common Heritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to collect and digitize community-held Hobo Day artifacts! Although the grant has ended we are still collecting your Hobo Day photos, home movies, scrapbooks, posters, and more.
We are looking for community-held Hobo Day memorabilia to add to SDSU Archives Digital Hobo Day Collection! Bring your items to SDSU Archives and Special Collections at Briggs Library for digitization! We will digitize your memories and give you a flash drive to keep!
Learning Hobo Day History
Watch Crystal Gamradt's presentation about the history of Hobo Day in the video below.