Unexpected Traditions with a University Flair
In Murray, we exceed the expectations of what can be found in a rural, small university town. Unexpected traditions beloved by our locals, with a Murray State University flair. Read on about our beloved traditions that may surprise you. Feel free to join in on our fun!
“TOUCHDOWN” *crowd goes wild* “Clear the track for Racer One!” If you have ever attended a Murray State Football home game, you’ve likely heard these words yelled over the speakers. Since 1976, Racer fans have celebrated every Murray State touchdown with Racer One running a victory lap around the field. For more than 40 years, a new thoroughbred horse is chosen each year to claim the nickname “Racer One” with a student jockey to help lead the way. Keep your eyes peeled next football game at Roy Stewart Stadium for our honorable, Racer One!
Downtown Murray Farmers Market
Seven months out of the year, Murray locals are counting down the days until the opening of the Downtown Murray Farmers Market. This downtown Murray tradition has served its locals since 1998, starting with a handful of vendors to now more than 60 set up every Saturday morning, ready to welcome their patrons. The market opens in May and continues until October. Vendors arrive early and set-up their booths with colorful veggies, beautiful handcrafted items, and a few baked goods scattered throughout. A plus: our market is certified Kentucky Proud! The fresh produce and handcrafted items are both grown and crafted here on Kentucky soil. Follow them on Instagram!
All Campus Sing
Student organizations across campus prepare for months to showcase their musical and dance talents in Sigma Alpha Iota's All Campus Sing every April. The competition is held on the front steps of historic Lovett Auditorium. Groups of students ultimately compete by performing choreographed musical numbers, all in hopes of winning prizes and money for their organizations’ philanthropy. Students, faculty, staff and Murray locals gather in the quad to witness and cheer on each group...some individuals even camp out for first-dibs on the best viewing spots. Performer categories include residential colleges, student organizations, fraternities, sororities and independent clubs. Participants are also encouraged to collect old musical instruments for grand champion points, which in turn are donated to area grade school music programs.
The Shoe Tree
A cherished tradition dating back to the 1960s, the Shoe Tree represents the love stories of Racers who found their "sole mates" while attending Murray State University. Couples return to campus to participate in this romantic tradition by nailing their shoes to the tree, usually with their wedding date written on the shoes. You'll see a few baby shoes pop up as couples return to nail a baby shoe once they've started a family. Tradition has it that the current shoe tree is actually the third tree to exist, falling behind the first one that was struck by lightning and the second one that was taken down in 2015 as a result of rogue branches falling off.
Murray Dairy Queen
There is no other tradition like it. What makes our Murray Dairy Queen so special, you ask? Carve out time in your day on March 1 and head down Main Street to participate in a long-standing tradition our locals wait all year for, to mark the true beginning of spring in Murray, KY. Opened in 1946, Murray’s Dairy Queen is one of the only remaining walk up establishments left in our nation, and is only open March through October. Locals gather, rain or shine, warm or cold, to dig their spoons into a mound of ice cream. Fun fact: they still use the original recipe…a richer consistency made with more butter fat. Are your mouths watering yet? See you in line, soon!
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