142nd Mountain Day set for October 18

Students at Pinnacle on Mountain Day

Following a tradition that began in 1875, classes and labor for Berea College students will be canceled for Berea’s annual Mountain Day celebration on October 18th. This College holiday is set aside as a celebration for “enjoying the fall colors and other natural wonders” in the Berea College Forest.

Berea will celebrate its 142nd Mountain Day beginning with a sunrise hike starting at 6:30 a.m. The Berea Concert Choir will greet the sunrise (expected at 7:48 a.m.) with music on the East Pinnacle. Lunch, served by Dining Services at the forest grounds, will be available for purchase from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Events and activities, coordinated by the Student Life office, start at 10 a.m. and conclude at 2 p.m. (See full schedule below.) Berea College alumni are invited to participate in a hike, led by Alumni Relations staff, that starts promptly at 9 a.m. at the entrance of Indian Fort Mountain. Alumni are also welcome to join the campus community for lunch and full day of celebration. For more information, visit https://www.berea.edu/alumni/mountainday/.

Singing at sunrise on Mountain Day

The Berea Concert Choir sings at the top of the East Pinnacle each year at sunrise.

In addition to hiking to the Pinnacles in the Berea College Forest, Mountain Day activities include contests sponsored by various campus organizations and student clubs, face painting, and dying T-shirts! Music by campus student groups such as the Black Music Ensemble, Bluegrass Ensemble, Choir, and others, along with dance performances featuring Hip-Hop, Latino, Middle-Eastern, South Asian Fusion and the Berea College Country Dancers provide entertainment and reflect the many cultures served by Berea College. Treats such as Ale-8 drinks, kettle corn, and cotton candy are Mountain Day staples available throughout most of the day.

1875 students on Pinnacle

First Mountain Day for Berea College, 1875

In the early years of celebrating Mountain Day, students would dress up and hike up the mountain. Eventually, the dress code became less formal and more casual. Originally wagons transported the students to the Indian Fort Mountain, where students took excursions to the Pinnacles with their faculty and labor departments. Various contests called “Pioneer games”—some of which continue today— included log chopping, log tossing and crosscut saw competition, all of which uniquely represent the Appalachian culture embraced by Berea College.

Mountain Day 2017 Schedule of Events


6:30 a.m.

Sunrise Hike (7:48 a.m.)

10:00 a.m.

Folk Roots Ensemble

10:30 a.m.

Country Dancers

10:40 a.m.

Sazon Latino

10:50 a.m.


11:00 a.m.

ASA (Lunch begins)

11:10 a.m.


11:20 a.m.


11:30 a.m.


11:40 a.m.


11:50 a.m.


12:30 p.m.


1:00 p.m.

Blue Grass (Lunch ends)

1:30 p.m.


2:00 p.m.


Categories: News, Places
Tags: Appalachia, Event, Mountain Day

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.