Fiji Black Diamond

Frank Norris Pig Dinner

The 2020 Norris Pig Dinner Is Less Than a Year Away!

Phi Tau Texas 50th Anniversary Celebration LogoThe dates are not set for our 52nd Annual Frank Norris Pig Dinner! However April 2020 is a very good guess. Watch this site for details when available!

For questions or more info contact Brother Mike Mannion:
email: mikemannion@kw.com or tel: 817-845-4030.


The Origin of the Norris Pig Dinner & "An Exile's Toast"

Frank Norris

In the nineteenth century, "Class Day" was a public student exhibition feauring orations by chosen seniors, among other entertainment. At the class day exercise of the University of California in 1893, the dispensator was Brother Ralph L. Hathorn (California 1893). He took occasion to rap the Delta Kappa Epsilon and Beta Theta Pi fraternities for monopolizing campus activities, particularly the "glee club". Glee clubs provided musical entertainment and school spirit - part chorus, part cheerleading section. In the days before phonographs or radio, they were an important and popular campus activity.

Hathorn's stunt consisted of bringing a barrell onto the platform labeled "U. of C. Glee Club," tied with a cord symbolic of the strangle-hold established by these two rival societies. Out of this barrel tumbled a squealing pig - a commentary on the Dekes' and Beta's singing ability.
Some say the pig escaped and was pursued by Fijis with murderous intent. At any rate, that night the suckling pig was incarcerated at the Fiji hous on Dana Street in Berkley. Frank Norris (California 1894) wrote an elaborate mock ceremony. On May 18 at 6pm, twenty Fijis made the Delta realm resound "All Hail the Pig!" Hathorn, as maser of ceremonies, then called upon every member present to renew his bond of allegiance, fidelity, and alliance, and to seal his vow on the bended knee by the solemn ordeal of kissing the pig's snout. After the banquet, at the break of dawn, Frank Norris was inspired to propose that they perpetuate the memory of the occasion by a perennial alumni-chapter pig dinner and rally.

"These Fiji dinners occurred annually on the night before the big game and were always held at the Old Poodle Dog restaurant, then located on the southeastern corner of Sacramento and Dupont streets in San Francisco. This habit continued up to the time of the great fire in 1906. The dinners of the latter 1890s were limited to University of California Fijis of whom were less than a hundred, not one of whom would have missed the dinner. While the heartiest of good fellowship reigned and cocktails and red wine were to be had at all times for the asking, there was no evidence of over-indulgence to be found at these dinners. We were there for a good time and we had it, but the morning found us ready for the big game rally and all the excitement attendant upon this annual event. That was the Fiji attitude of those days.

'An Exile's Toast' was written by Frank Norris in 1900 when he was living in Roselle, New Jersey. With the approach of the annual big game with Stanford, Frank found himself lonely and craving for the good times we Fijis used to have at this period with the result that the toast was written and mailed so thaat it was read at the annual Fiji dinner. We who heard Brother H.M. Wright read the verses utterly failed to realize what would be the future of 'An Exile's Toast.' In fact, it is a wonder that the original was ever saved for posterity.

"From this small dinner of those days when Delta Xi had less than fifty members upon it's roster, has come the Norris Dinner of all Fijidom to symbolize the spiritual ideal of good fellowship in the fraternity so perfectly exemplified in Norris the Man." After the untimely death of Frank Norris in 1902, it was most fitting that this annual festivity should be dedicated to him and that the custom should be known hereafter as the "Norris."
The Arlington Texas Graduate Chapter has duplicated the Norris Pig Dinner Experience each year for the last 51 years. While many of us will not be there for the 100th Arlington Graduate Chapter Norris Pig Dinner, brothers who are with us today will be in attendance at that historic event. Lets make the upcoming Norris Pig Dinner worth remembering!
The Pig