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February 1, 2013

One last roll: Toomer’s Oaks to be celebrated at A-Day on April 20, removed soon after


AUBURN, Ala. – This will be one A-Day Auburn football fans won’t soon forget.

The beginning of a new era coincides with the closing of another.

Auburn University announced The Oaks at Toomer’s Corner will be rolled one final time following the spring scrimmage April 20.

Gus Malzahn will be on the sideline for the first time as Auburn’s head coach, to conclude the Tigers’ set of spring practices. Then afterward, fans are invited to toss their toilet paper and take photographs with the time-honored oaks, which were poisoned by Alabama fan Harvey Updyke soon after the 2010 Iron Bowl.

The City of Auburn is dubbing the day a “Celebrate the Tradition” block party at Toomer’s Corner, at the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue.

The trees will later be removed at a yet-to-be-determined date.
“The Oaks at Toomer’s Corner have been a part of Auburn tradition for generations,” said Debbie Shaw, Auburn University vice president for alumni affairs and executive director of the Auburn Alumni Association. “Their removal will in no way diminish the Auburn Spirit, which has grown even stronger during these past two years.”

Despite extraordinary efforts to save the oak trees, members of the university’s Tree Preservation Committee say they do not see the possibility of survival.

The university’s future landscaping plans will be unveiled on A-Day. Over the past two months, more than 10,000 fans and friends of the university provided their opinions and ideas through an online survey conducted by Auburn University and other landscape architectural firms.

“The architects are combining their expertise and experience with the terrific input from the Auburn Family to come up with a future plan that we will all be proud of,” said Dan King, assistant vice president for Auburn University Facilities Management.

To keep the tradition alive, the university and city will create structures at the site suitable for rolling after the oaks are gone. Fans will be invited to gather there as they always have following big victories or other momentous occasions.

The block party, which is co-sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association, will feature live music and a festive atmosphere.

“We want people to be upbeat about the future of this area,” Shaw said. “Rolling the corner is a uniquely Auburn tradition, and whether we roll trees or other structures, the camaraderie and sense of togetherness is part of what makes Auburn a special place.”

Information from Mike Clardy, Auburn Office of Communications and Marketing, was used in this report.

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