It’s been seventy-three years since the University of Houston first opened its gates to Frontier City. Frontier City is the name of the site where Frontier Fiesta takes place. It began as a student run festival to promote the University but soon developed into a tradition which showcases students' talents and hosts competitions such as the beard contest: in which students can enter in several categories like best-all-around and longest beard.
The festival has changed over time, and some students feel that the change has not been positive.
This is Shaimaa Eisaa, photographer for The Daily Cougar and a senior at the University of Houston.
“It’s a lot different than it was in the past few years. What I remember is the days whenever it was in the stadium, we used to have different rides and it was more of a carnival to me. And there were professors more involved.”
The location is one of the biggest changes that has occurred this year. In the previous years, Frontier City was located near the west side of Robertson Stadium, and this year it was in the parking lot across the recreational center. Clement Agho-Otoghile, director of marketing, says that the new location is actually closer to its origin.
“So it’s good have traditions that you know will stay. This location is more original to where Frontier Fiesta used to be, because it used be where the rec is. So we are almost moving it back to where it started.”
Otoghile is not the only one who believes Frontier Fiesta should bring back old traditions. Rex Mann is the chairman of the beard growing competition. A past competitor himself, he says that a lot of the students at UH are commuters, and this gives everyone a chance to come together.
Variety shows are also a popular feature at Frontier Fiesta. This year featured nine different acts.
(Mahnoor Samana, KUHF)
“Tradition. Like with this beard competition, back in the day you could win a car in this competition. They had 7 or 8 categories. One of which was 'Ugliest.' So people would take like raw oysters and put them in their beard and twist them up. It was crazy. So basically, this is the second year we have bought it back.”
Mann hopes to keep this competition alive for years to come.
Frontier Fiesta also brought in some new traditions this year. This is Otoghile again.
“A new thing we did this year was have a universal tent which is open to all students, you know, for free. Because like the variety of shows you pay a ticket, and the cook off teams they have their own schedules on who they let in who they don’t let in. But the universal tent was something new this year, and that is free for all.”
The universal tent allowed students to get free caricatures and participate in activities such as an obstacle course for various prizes.
Otoghile takes pride in UH and says that when he thinks of the University of Houston, he thinks of Frontier Fiesta.
“No other school has something like this right, everyone has homecoming. Everyone has traditions, older schools, and younger schools. But no one has a Frontier Fiesta. And even if they tried to have Frontier Fiesta, it would not be a Frontier Fiesta.”