It seems that every child of the 2000s was captivated by the animated classic that is Shrek—and enchanted again a decade or so later as Shrek made his way into meme culture—and that dedication showed on Thursday, January 18th, as dozens of adoring fans made the trek to Festival to enjoy an ogre-themed Late Night Shrekfest.
Late Night Breakfast—a themed, bi-semester event put on by UPB—is well-attended and much-beloved by regular participants. Senior public policy major Roneka Spady estimates that she’s missed only three in her four-year tenure at JMU. She summed up the general feeling of Late Night Breakfast perfectly: “I’ve found that this is a space where everyone is together, we’re always dancing, and you know normally that doesn’t happen, really […] I really feel like I connect more with JMU as a whole.”
On this particular night, visitors were greeted with “Beware of Ogre” warning signs and fairytale paraphernalia as they sought out their waffles, tater tots, bacon, and eggs. Despite the long line and fierce competition for waffles, the air was cheerful as students happily belted out the familiar tunes from the films or bantered in movie quotes; more than once jokers in the line could be heard mock-whining, in their best Eddie Murphy impressions, “Are we there yet?!”
A bouncy castle and lively dance floor entertained the more active members of the crowd as the DJ cycled through every major dance craze from the “Cha Cha Slide” to “Crank That (Soulja Boy).” Mass line dances and jam circles drew attention from all over the two-story venue as students crowded the stairs and railings to get a look at the dance floor. Balloon animals, coloring pages, and conversation (not to mention food) occupied the more relaxed bunch. Students wandered around with glow stick crowns and balloon flower-hats, carrying their spoils of Tervis Tumblers, “Shrekfest” buttons, Gingy figurines, gooey slapper-hands, and various other bits of UPB swag.
Junior SMAD major and UPB member Christine Mountain confessed that her idea for a Shrek-themed Late Night Breakfast almost didn’t happen, saying “it just popped into my head […] I’d already left the room where we were thinking of ideas, and I ran back with [it]!” Almost a year later, she finally saw it come to fruition, and gushed, “I’m really excited to see it in action […] this is now an idea that’s out there.”
The theme was a smashing success, as juniors Haley Brandt and Halle Forbes enthusiastically confirmed. Forbes, a SMAD major, crowed, “We’re thrilled! We love Shrek—“, and English major Brandt continued, admitting, “we have a group message […] and the name of it is ‘The Swamp,’ because we love Shrek so much.” The two spent most of the evening coloring sheet after sheet of Shrek-themed coloring pages, trading relevant quotes and artistic critiques. Forbes concluded that it was worth the hike out to Festival despite the late hour, because “this is our favorite theme, so we had to come, we had to come back.”
As midnight approached, UPB members made like Lord Farquad and herded students towards the exit, dismantling the swamp and putting Festival back to rights. By the time students were arriving safely at their own swamps, Festival was as clean and orderly as the streets of Duloc, once again its fairytale-free self.