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Breaking Down THON 2021’s Virtual Spectator Guide

As 6 p.m. on Friday, quickly approaches, dancers, student volunteers, and Penn Staters from around the globe are getting set to take part in yet another THON 46-hour dance marathon.

But this year, things certainly won’t look the same. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire event will be taking place virtually.

To clear the air and lay the groundwork, THON released a handy 17-page spectator guide Friday that explains most of the ins and outs.

From a full-fledged schedule to unique at-home activities, we broke down everything you need to know from THON 2021’s virtual spectator guide.

How To Tune In

As you could imagine, volunteers and spectators won’t be at the Bryce Jordan Center this time around.

Instead, you can tune into the entire weekend of events through a virtual livestream that’s operated by 46Live, which will be accessible to anyone at home through THON.org/livestream. The livestream will not broadcast new content between midnight and 6 a.m. each night.

What Will Dancers Do?

Although THON 2021 won’t resemble the THONs of years past, dancers will remain a focal point of the 46-hour event.

Nearly 600 dancers will take part by celebrating from their living rooms. Now that they’re without the support of an entire arena, dancers are required to take mandatory breaks during designated rest between midnight and 6 a.m. each night.

The event will still follow the same traditional schedule, though. Dancers will stand at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19, and wrap up at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21. THON will reveal this year’s fundraising total shortly after.

How Can I Donate?

As always, Penn Staters around the world can make contributions to THON by visiting donate.thon.org.

To put your gifts toward a specific organization or committee, you’ll need to send them in before 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20. Additionally, if you want your money to count toward THON 2021’s grand total, it will need to arrive before 11:59 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21.

A (Brief) THON 2021 Timeline

Friday, February 19

  • 5:15 p.m. — THON Weekend’s livestream begins
  • 5:55 p.m. — THON 2021 executive committee introductions
  • 6 p.m. — Dancers stand
  • 6:15 p.m. — First line dance
  • 7:30 p.m. — Kids’ mail call
  • 8:30 p.m. — A celebrity guest performance
  • 10:55 p.m. — Lenina Crowne performance
  • midnight to 6 a.m. — REST PERIOD, live content ends

Saturday, February 20

  • 6 a.m. — Livestream resumes
  • 6:01 a.m. — OK Otter performance
  • 9:30 a.m. — Vision To None performance
  • 11 a.m. — Dancer Pageant
  • 12:15 p.m. — Corner Brothers performance
  • 2 p.m. — THON Idol featuring Southpaw
  • 4 p.m. — Kids/Teen Talent Show
  • 6 p.m. — Alumni Hour
  • 6:45 p.m. — THON Showcase winners performance (read: Urban Dance Troupe)
  • 7 p.m. — THON Pep Rally
  • 8:30 p.m. — Another celebrity guest performance
  • 11 p.m. — My Hero Zero performance
  • midnight to 6 a.m. — REST PERIOD, live content ends

Sunday, February 21

  • 6 a.m. — Livestream resumes
  • 6:01 a.m. — LowJack performance
  • 9 a.m. — Battle of the Bands
  • 10:15 a.m. — Hair Donation
  • 11 a.m. — Kids Fashion Show
  • Noon — Final Four begins
    • THON 2021’s Final Four will include Family Hour, performances of THON’s five most recent line dances, a performance from Go Go Gadjet, and more.
  • 4 p.m. — Dancers sit, followed by THON 2021’s total reveal

Spectator Activities

Folks tuning in from home can take part in dozens of THON 2021 theme hours all weekend long. Each one will bring a variety of online games or challenges to play that should help the 46-hour marathon fly by.

This online document contains a full guide to THON’s planned theme hours, which include classics like “Carnival” and “Disney” to newcomers like “#TBT” and “Luau.” Each brings its own set of activities, challenges, and games for the whole family, including a THON-themed Family Feud board.

Additionally, Penn State students (but only Penn State students) can join an exclusive Zoom room to accompany THON committee members and captains for crowd entertainment.

COVID-19 Protocols

According to its guide, THON expects all spectators to follow applicable COVID-19 regulations, including State College’s ordinancePenn State’s COVID-19 Compact, and state and federal guidelines.

If you believe a Penn State student or organization engaged with THON is not following proper guidelines, you can notify proper officials through Penn State’s student conduct referral form. Any “major concerns” should be sent to THON executives.