Penn State University, Homecoming 2012
Last weekend, Angela and I headed up to central Pennsylvania to visit Denise, and to celebrate homecoming at our alma mater, Penn State. After 3.5 hours in the car, we made out way to University Park, PA, otherwise known as Happy Valley!
The girls had taken a day off, so Friday morning was spent lingering over breakfast. In honor of my favorite fall flavor, I made pumpkin pancakes (recipe to follow) with a side of bacon. I love pumpkin the way that Forrest Gump loves shrimp… pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin beer…
We spent the afternoon strolling through downtown State College. So much has changed since I graduated over a decade ago! There was a bit of shopping – you can never have too much PSU gear! I bought a pair of sweatpants to replace the ones I bought freshman year. As much as I loved them, the elastic waistband had deteriorated years ago and they barely stayed up; time for new pants!
After restocking our wardrobes, we made our way through a farmer’s market. Cheerful flowers, crisp produce, and lots of Amish baked goods!
After a few taste tests, I ended up buying a jar of spiced apple chutney (I told you that I love fall flavors!), and a bottle of ginger shrub. I had never heard of shrub before, but a sample had me hooked!
Shrub is a vinegar based syrup infused with fruit juice, a technique that was popular in America during the early colonial period. It is mixed with sparkling water to produce a refreshing beverage. I can’t wait to make some cocktails using this. I already wish I had bought more!
Later in the afternoon, the streets became packed with students awaiting the night’s Homecoming Parade. They were everywhere, camped out securing good parade viewing spots! Luckily for them, it was a beautiful and warm day, unlike some of the chilly homecoming weekends we’ve had in the past.
My group decided to bow out early, so we headed to the outskirts of town to have a very late lunch at Otto’s Brewery.
Back at D’s place we prepared for a bonfire!
It took us a while to get it going, but once the fire was lit, we had a great time hanging out by the fire, chatting and making S’mores.
The next morning was GAME DAY! Penn State versus undefeated Northwestern. There is nothing like being in Beaver Stadium cheering on the Nittany Lions; the energy is unbelievable!
I love every bit of it, from singing the national anthem, watching the Lion and the drum major do their flips, listening to the blue band, and watching the baton twirlers (ok, so that might be my very favorite part!). I love the chants, doing the wave, and screaming so loud that the other team can’t hear the snap count. I also love all the great music they play at the stadium, and started wondering how I could get that DJ gig!
Despite the weather forecast of 100% rain, we lucked out and had a dry day. The sun even came out, just in time for the half-time show! It turned out to be one of the most exciting games I have ever been to. In the end Penn State beat Northwestern, 39-28. A big win always makes for a fun homecoming celebration! Overall, another great weekend in Happy Valley!