Topper Fest welcomes WKU family back to campus amid pandemic


Brittany Fisher

Western Kentucky University freshman Alaina Hess and Allen Ross play cornhole on South Lawn during Topper Fest on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021

Genesis Malone, Staff Reporter

WKU kicked off the beginning of the 2021-2022 semester with Topper Fest, an interactive outdoor event held Friday at South Lawn. 

“Western Kentucky University is a special place with a special spirit,” WKU President Timothy Caboni. “I look forward to celebrating that spirit with you as we kick off the 2021 fall semester.”

Topper Fest included activities such as interactive outdoor games for children, food trucks like Stoneybrooke Farm and Que Pasa Tacos, entertainment provided by The Music City Sound and a display of fireworks at the end of the night.


“It’s a great kickoff for the year, and not just for sports but for the academic year as well,” Wade Talley, WKU Alumni said. 

Following the shutdown of campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Caboni encouraged students, family and faculty to celebrate the opening of campus with a fun-filled event. 

“We missed so many opportunities in the past 18 months to be with one another, to celebrate our collective efforts and launch of the new academic year. I invite all members of our WKU family to Topper Fest,” Caboni said. 

Prevention methods such as a non-enclosed area were used at TopperFest to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This gave all attendees a chance to interact with one another while social distancing. Masks were not required outside, but were encouraged. 

“While current guidelines from public health officials indicate masks are not typically needed outdoors, WKU supports those who choose to wear a mask outdoors,” David Oliver, environmental health and safety director said.

For many WKU students, Topper Fest was the first event they got to attend after spending months in quarantine. Mia Botkins, a sophomore at WKU, said she was excited to finally be around her friends again. 

“It definitely makes me feel nervous to be out,” Botkins said. “Because everyone can still get COVID even if you’re vaccinated. But I’m still excited to have some type of interaction with other students after being in quarantine for what seemed like forever.” 

Staff Reporter Genesis Malone can be reached at [email protected]