Shark-themed oceanfest draws countless students

Gettysburg students enjoyed food and eating with friends outside of Servo during Oceanfest. The event lasted from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on September 26.
(Photo Courtesy of Jamie Welch)

By Jamie Welch, Staff Writer

Gettysburg College has many traditions; from the campus-wide Thanksgiving Dinner before the holiday break to the First-Year Walk that retraces the steps that Abraham Lincoln and the students of Gettysburg College took from the college to the national cemetery to deliver “a few appropriate remarks.”

But no tradition is as deliciously reminiscent of the beach as Oceanfest. Oceanfest is a tradition, now over 10 years old, where Dining Services serves up delicious seafood recipes to students for merely the cost of a swipe. When Oceanfest first began it was called Crabfest, but the name was later changed to Oceanfest to allow for a diversification of the dishes offered.

The annual event sponsored by the Campus Activities Board was held last Friday from 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. in the Dining Center. This marks a change from previous years, where Oceanfest was held in the CUB ballroom. Because Dining Services employees no longer needed to run food across the street from the Dining Center to the Ballroom, more dishes were made available to attendees. Another exciting change this year was the addition of outdoor seating on the lawn outside Specialty Dining, and a huge inflatable shark slide for students to enjoy.

The theme for this year’s Oceanfest took on a decidedly sharky tone, with the tagline “I Survived Oceanfest 2014.” This theme was reflected in the free mini sharks that were given away to all students, the shark themed photo taking area and in the dorsal fins affixed to the tablecloths. The sharks also were abundant on the t-shirts and tanktops CAB sold in the week leading up to the event.

Some of the dishes featured included Blue Crab Stuffed Flounder, Shrimp & Scallops in a Red Pepper Fondue, Fried Calamari, and Lobster Mac and Cheese. Although the lines at this year’s Oceanfest were comparable to previous years, the line for the Lobster Mac and Cheese did get extremely long during peak dinner time. However, Dining Services quickly added a second line for the Lobster Mac and Cheese, and the lines dissipated.

Overall it was a very successful event that was attended by over 1,100 people, significantly exceeding normal attendance figures. At Monday’s CAB meeting Janine Barr ‘15, this year’s CAB Traditions Chair, said that the event was a huge success, and thanked everyone who volunteered to help make it happen. “We had an awesome cohort of volunteers,” she said. Several CAB members also shared their comments about the event. Jariel Rodriguez ‘15 loved everything about Oceanfest this year, but said that “the [inflatable] shark was the best part of the whole event.” Sarah Roessler ‘16 had nothing but praise for the fishy event. “I thought it was wonderful,” she commented, “this was my favorite Oceanfest of my Gettysburg lifetime.”

That is not to say the event was without problems. Some topics that have already been brought to CAB’s attention include concerns at the length of the lines for food at some points in the evening, a limited selection of non-seafood options for those who dislike seafood, and a lack of knowledge in the student body about what the event was all about, especially for first-years who have never experienced this annual tradition. Barr assured all those present at the meeting that she will take all feedback she receives into consideration and will share that feedback with next year’s Traditions Chair so that CAB can improve the event.

Barr also said that she is seeking feedback from the student body at large about what worked, what did not, and any ideas for improving the event next year. She stressed that CAB is in existence to plan events that are fun and engaging to the student body and that she wants to hear from students. She encourages anyone who has feedback about this year’s Oceanfest, good or bad, to send her an email at

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Author: Isabel Gibson Penrose

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