Sticklers for detail will note that Penn’s toast-throwing tradition isn’t just about toast. Penn supporters throw all manner of baked goods—from bagels to muffins to pumpernickel—onto Franklin Field between the third and fourth quarter of every home football game. The cue to unleash the bread comes on the line, “Here’s a toast to dear old Penn” in a school fight song. Some say it was inspired by antics at screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Others contend that the ritual is an adaptation to the tradition of drinking an alcoholic toast to “dear old Penn.” When alcohol was banned from the stadium, the students decided to interpret “toast” more literally.
In a good season, says Franklin Field supervisor Tony Overend, 20,000 to 30,000 pieces of toast will be thrown per game. A “toast zamboni” picks up the debris at the end of the day.
For more photos of this Penn tradition, and many others, visit the University Archives site at http://imagesvr.library.upenn.edu/p/pennarchive/.
Originally published on September 22, 2005