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Bright orange flames of the bonfire against a dark sky

One of my favorite Dartmouth traditions is the annual Homecoming Bonfire. Every year towards the end of October, Homecoming weekend gives students and alumni an opportunity to take a pause and celebrate the Dartmouth spirit. To start the weekend, a massive bonfire is lit on the center of the Green, and the new first-year class (the class of 2027) is responsible for walking laps around the fire while upperclassmen and alumni celebrate them. The scale of the fire is massive; even standing 30 feet away, the heat is incredibly strong! 

This year, there was heavy rain throughout the evening. However, the fire was still able to be lit; the rain, combined with the smoke and fog, made for a really stunning visual effect. I think the rain made it more exciting for everyone involved! This is my third Homecoming bonfire, and I'm always amazed by the scale of both the fire and the crowd. Homecoming weekend is definitely the most popular weekend for alumni to visit campus. There's a pre-bonfire parade where student-athletes and alumni walk around campus and the Green; the alumni even walk alongside their class—I saw alumni groups from the class of 1964 to 2023! 

If you've read my blog in the past, you probably know that I've been working on developing my video and production skills. As a videographer for Admissions, I was responsible for getting lots of Homecoming footage for Admissions social media platforms. The rain made this tricky, but lots of fun; holding my umbrella and camera at the same time, it was hectic moving around the crowds of people trying to get footage. I'm grateful to have all of that footage as an archive of my third bonfire experience!

My favorite thing about the bonfire is how it brings the whole community together for one night. The size of the fire combined with the scale of the crowds really conveys a strong sense of community and reminds me how expansive the Dartmouth community actually is. I can't believe that next year will be my last bonfire as a college student; my Dartmouth experience has been flying by, and all of the festivities last weekend reminded me that I should be doing my best to enjoy and take advantage of all that Dartmouth has to offer before I graduate! I'm grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy another Homecoming bonfire, and I can't wait for the next one!

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