Carnicus: A Rocky Top Original
Friday, February 2, 2018
6:00 p.m. Cox Auditorium (Alumni Memorial Building)
Carnicus has a long and storied past at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The commonly known beginnings date back to the early 1900’s. In the early part of the 20th century, UT students celebrated the end of the year’s classes with an event called the June Jubilee. It evolved with the Glee Club performing, vaudeville shows by the students, and side shows. In 1911, a circus was added with students dressing as elephants, cows, and other animals. By 1925, the carnival had become a mid-winter carnival held indoors and the circus an outdoor event held in the spring. In 1929, the All Campus Events committee combined the two activities and George Abernathy, a member of the All Students’ Club, coined the word Carnicus. The event ended with the crowning of a Carnicus Queen. As Carnicus evolved over the years, emphasis was placed on the skit competitions, and the parades, dances, and queen crowning were eliminated. Today’s Carnicus competition allows a maximum of ten groups, single or co-ed, from any student organization.
But what you may not know is the reason why the circus began. According to the 1912 issue of The Volunteer, the Athletic Department was in great debt in 1911 and was blacklisted from the S.I.A.A. The student body decided to host a circus and vaudeville show in May 1911 to raise funds to get Athletics out of debt. The circus was successful, and by 1912 the Athletic Department was free from debt.
Think outside of the box. Get creative. But most of all, have fun!
All Campus Events Committee presents to you “Carnicus: A Rocky Top Original”