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February 6th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

Bengal Ball In 1980’s

(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)

Today’s photos are from a long ago tradition at Clemson called Bengal Ball.

Bengal Ball was a University Union sponsored event held each April at the Y Beach across Lake Hartwell beginning in 1973. Advertised in some years as a "celebration of the sun", it was essentially the Gamma Delta Iota (alter ego of the Greeks) counterpart of Greek Week and Dixie Day held in mid-April by the fraternities and sororities of Clemson.

For a fixed price of admission, some four thousand students would gather on the beach to hear live music, throw disc, and partake of food and cold beverages. Regional acts performed on a flatbed trailer stage on the shore of the lake. Other events included the naming of a King and Queen of the festival, voted by acclamation. In many years, the Dixie Skydivers would jump in.

Beer distributors would call in all their available tap trucks from the Upstate in order to quench the thirst of the merry crowd. A minor flap occurs in 1978 when the official tee-shirt logo stating "I was Bengal Balled" is deemed too risque for the Union to sell, being replaced by tamer version that reads "Bengal Ball '78". The three hundred shirt run of the original design are sold on the black market anyway, and prove a highly sought-after commodity.

In 1982, Bengal Ball was hit with a heavy thunderstorm in mid-event, but generally good weather favored the annual party.

Bengal Ball was discontinued sometime in the late 1980's, as national attitudes about appropriate student entertainment involving what were essentially beer busts shifted towards "Just say no".

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