At Juniata, we believe change is good ... except for this stuff!

Like many other colleges and universities, we sponsor events such as Homecoming and Family Weekend. But, in addition, we have a number of traditions that are unique to Juniata.

Lobsterfest Madrigal May Day Breakfast Mountain Day
Mr. Juniata Storming of the Arch  Springfest  

Unique Traditions


Established: 1988

Sponsored by the Office of Student Engagement & Campus Activities and Juniata Dining, Lobsterfest is held at the end of the first week of fall semester classes to welcome the students back to campus after summer break. Lobsterfest is a picnic that features whole Maine lobsters as the main course and live music as the entertainment.

In addition, the Student Organization Fair is held during Lobsterfest. During the Fair, many of the College's student organizations set up display tables so that new students have the opportunity to see the many activities available to them.


Established: 1970

Madrigal, Juniata College

Madrigal Dinner is one of our most popular traditions, with 600-700 students in attendance each year. Taking place on the last Saturday of fall semester, this holiday tradition starts with a first-class meal served to the students by the faculty and staff. After dinner, the guests are entertained with performances by members of the campus community and the entire group participates in holiday caroling. This sing-along culminates with the singing of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with various sections of the dining hall acting out the different parts of the song.

Tenting is an associated tradition, with students creating a tent city on the quad side of the Cloister arch. About a month before Madrigal, willing groups of students set up and sleep in tents for a week, competing in games, talent shows, and various challenges to win points. The more points a team earns pushes them to the front of the line to order tickets, and gives them a better chance to get a table in the coveted “five golden rings” section.

May Day Breakfast

Established: 1916

On the morning of reading day in the Spring semester, the Juniata community comes together recognize our students, staff, and faculty who have made a difference. Awards go to outstanding students from each class, to a member of faculty and a member of the staff, and to particularly impactful events and RSOs, along with a special award for an Unsung Hero.

Mountain Day

Established: 1896

Mountain Day is the oldest tradition at Juniata, in existence in some form since the late 1800s. On a beautiful fall day, classes are canceled and everyone flocks to one of the state parks in the area for a day of outdoor fun including a picnic lunch, nature walks, crafts, music, tug-of-war, and more.

The most unique element of Mountain Day is that no one knows in advance when it is going to occur! Trying to guess the date of Mountain Day is one of the most-popular topics of conversation among the students and faculty in the weeks leading up to the event.

To Sign-Up to be called on the morning of Mountain Day, please click here


Mr. Juniata

Mr. Juniata

Established: 1997

Hosted by philanthropic club Juniata GIVE, the Mr. Juniata Pageant is a tongue-in-cheek spoof of beauty pageants with men from each class competing for the coveted Mr. Juniata crown. Complete with formal wear, talent, and interview competitions, the guys keep the Rosenberger Auditorium audience in stitches with their hilarious antics. 



In April, Springfest is jam-packed with activities allowing  students and staff to enjoy a break from their preparations for final exams and to get a little crazy! The tradition has changed over the years and is currently a festival out on the quad with live performers, games, food trucks, snow cones, and fun for all.

Storming of the Arch

Established: Late 1940's

To date, no freshman class has made it through the Arch successfully.

Storming of the Arch takes place on the second Wednesday of fall semester and is an optional rite of passage for first-year students. First-year students from across campus gather on the quad with the intention of charging the Cloister Arch and making it through to the other side. This mission is complicated by the group of upperclass students who serve as "defenders" of the Arch. The students discuss their strategy and then charge the Arch until they are all knocked down or someone gets through the gauntlet of upperclassmen. This event is organized by the men's and women's rugby teams.