Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Throw Back Thursday (on a Wednesday)

Hi friends,

First, a quick card to share with you.  This is a fun and easy birthday card using watercolor papers.  I sponged the blue ink over the stamped floral images to create this soft and feminine effect.

So, do you ever load pictures to facebook for 'Throw Back Thursday?'  Up until recently I haven't been playing along, but I've really enjoyed seeing my friends post pictures from way back and decided to join in the trend.

I spoke to my daughter on Monday and she said that she and some friends were going to get together and drink green beer on Saint Patrick's Day.  That reminded me of my younger days so I found some old pictures from 1984 of the Phi Kappa Pi Beer Blast.  I plan to put these on facebook for TBT, but thought I'd share a little of the backstory here on my blog.  These pictures below are all from March 17, 1984 -  the first beer blast of the season at Phi Kappa Pi sorority house at 58 Elm Street, Potsdam NY.

Do you not know what a 'Beer Blast' is?  Well, I don't know who else participated in them, but they were very popular in Potsdam NY back when I was in college.  Pretty much every Saturday (when it wasn't freezing cold) a fraternity or sorority would host a 'Beer Blast.'  It was a fund raiser and I have no idea how we made any money on these things, but I recall that we did.

You could buy your ticket in advance (from fraternity or sorority members) for $3.00.  You would go to the 'house' where the party was happening at 1pm and you could hang out in the yard from 1-5pm and drink as much beer as you could handle.  We didn't have 'red solo cups' back then. I recall they were just really cheap clear plastic cups and you'd go to the keg and pour your own.  It was cheap keg beer.  Our beer blast (I think all beer blasts) served Genesee beer.  If you are not from NY, you probably don't know about Genny Cream Ale.  It wasn't very good.  Light, not very carbonated and had a reputation for giving you gas (fondly known as Genny Screamers when the gas let loose.)  The joke was they used water from the Genessee river and that was not known to be clean.  I don't think they actually did that, but we liked to joke about it.

The party also included a band and hot dogs.  Rest rooms consisted of port a potties for the girls and a makeshift urinal for the men.  We put up plywood privacy barriers and several bathtubs.  It was 'rustic.'  At many beer blasts, at some point the barricade would fall down and we would get a show. Even though we were an engineering school, not much effort went into these things.

The hot dogs were typically boiled in the kitchen, put on a bun and then thrown out to the crowd from the porch.  I don't recall that we served plates, napkins, mustard or ketchup.  I don't think I ever ate a hotdog at a Beer Blast, but I think state law required that we serve food with the alcohol and some of the guys did eat them.

At 5pm, the kegs would be shut down and the host group would have to start escorting their drunken guests out of the yard.  It was like a parade.  Most went back to their dorm or apartment for a nap before heading downtown for the Saturday evening festivities, some probably headed straight to the 'after party.'   Neighbors hated when a beer blast happened on their street because public urination was common.  I recall having to do 'street duty' after our beer blast to ensure that anyone walking on our street didn't make a pit stop in the neighbors bushes.

The yard would be a wreck after the event was over.  If you had any grass in the past, it was pretty much gone and you were left with a lot of mud.  I don't know how, but the grass grew up pretty nice that spring after the thaw happened.  Maybe spilled beer makes good fertilizer.

The dress code at a beer blast was first and foremost be warm.  In upstate NY, even in the early fall and late spring, it would be chilly.  And you would wear your fraternity or sorority 'colors' or 'letters.'

In my circle of friends, everyone went to the beer blast.  We didn't always stay the whole time and we didn't always over-indulge, but it was the social event to be at and I don't think I missed too many of them.  I would do my studying in the library Saturday morning (or laundry) and then make plans to hit the beer blast in the afternoon.  I was in the 'napping' after the blast category.  We would head back home, nap, eat and then head out the evening social events.

Below are my photos from the March 17th event.


Several of my sorority sisters posing for a picture.  Don't ask me their names - I've totally forgotten by now.

Beth Ziemen and Sheila McMahon - my two roommates in front of our apartment.    They were also sorority sisters.  I liked hanging with these two.  Whenever we went downtown together, guys would buy us drinks because Sheila was GORGEOUS.  Beth and I weren't too shabby either, but everyone noticed Sheila which wasn't a bad thing.

Bob and I in our matching gold and black.  He was in Phi Kappa Sigma, I was in Phi Kappa Pi, both fraternity and sorority shared the gold and black colors.  Yup, we both look like we are in middle school!  Bob was actually a college Sr when this picture taken, me a junior.
In case you didn't believe me about the 'all you can eat hotdogs, all you can drink beer and a band for $3.00', here is the ticket as proof.

Click the link below to see more Beer Blast photos and memoirs from Potsdam NY

Potsdam Beer Blasts

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope I inspired you to post some Throw Back Thursday pictures of your own this week!

1 comment:

Karen said...

LOVE your TBT memories and especially the pic of you and Bob...

Very pretty card, too.