Fall Festival: Celebrating the season


Chelsea Goldsmith

Juniors Sara Dong and Shubhra Tewari pose at the event’s photobooth (left).

Sienna Axe, A&E Reporter

This past weekend, students and parents alike gathered on the Stanton lawn for caramel apples, a photo booth and no less than 120 pumpkins to carve for the second annual Fall Festival, hosted by the Whitman Events Board (WEB) on Saturday, Oct. 27.

WEB chair and senior Blake Killingsworth explained the premise of the Fall Festival.

“Fall Festival is … a celebration of everything fall,” Killingsworth said. “[We] all really enjoy fall, and we wanted to have that sense of fall spirit come to Whitman over Family Weekend, and I think we succeeded in doing that.”

The festival was also a break from the stress of school, according to WEB board member and junior Shubhra Tewari.

“We were hoping to give everyone a chance to take a break from studying, as this is a super busy time for academics, and enjoy what we consider to be some of the most exciting parts of this season,” Tewari said.

While this is the second time WEB has hosted a fall festival, this is the first time it has taken place over Family Weekend, which Killingsworth said was a deliberate choice on WEB’s part.

“[We] thought it would be a really good opportunity to have it on Family Weekend, just because it’s a fun thing to do with families,” Killingsworth said. “I know I was reminiscing about pumpkin carving with my family, and decorating and stuff like that, so we thought it was a good family-friendly thing, while at the same time if your family wasn’t in town, you’d also be able to show up.”

Another first for the Fall Festival was its location — a location that did not exist when school started last year. WEB board member and sophomore Jonathan Weinberg said the board was excited to take advantage of the new space.

“Last year they did the first one, [and] it was located at Reid side lawn, but this year we thought we’d mix it up,” Weinberg said. “Because Stanton was just built, we thought it could be nice to have it here, [and] people could just come right out of eating lunch to the event.”

Tewari believes that the change in space allowed WEB more freedom.

“I was not part of the group that planned last year’s festival, but from what I can tell, the location change made a big difference because we had more space to spread out across Cleveland Lawn,” she said.

Weinberg said that WEB wanted to give both students and their families “some wholesome fall exuberance before the winter that we shouldn’t have here comes.”

According to Weinberg, WEB put a lot of effort into the “aesthetic look” of the festival; the pumpkins, for example, were surrounded by leaves collected by Killingsworth from less-raked parts of campus.

The planning, however, did not stop at aesthetics.

“We had to take into account how much food to purchase,” Weinberg said. “And pumpkin-wise as well, to satisfy [and accommodate] everyone, [and to] play music that everyone can relate to.”

The Halloween playlist acted as the soundtrack for the festival, which included everything from “Oingo Boingo” to “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

The event was the product of a long planning process; Killingsworth had been checking the weather for the planned date 30 days in advance.

“[The] little sun symbol stayed for the whole time, which was very nice,” Killingsworth said. “It’s definitely pushing it on the weather if you have a festival this time of year.”

But the hardest part? The 120 pumpkins, which Killingsworth said took a forklift to get in place.

“Just buying that many pumpkins is always a fun challenge,” Killingsworth said.

The process of getting the pumpkins to campus was a long one involving a truck, two outside volunteers and a forklift, courtesy of the Physical Plant.

Killingsworth hopes that future WEB members will continue the tradition of the Fall Festival.

“It’s ultimately up to next year’s board, and the chair, but … I will highly encourage whoever is next year’s chair to do the event again,” Killingsworth said. “I think it’s a great time for a festival. Especially if it does happen on Family Weekend, I think that [it] has a lot of potential to be a solid event in years to come.”

The Fall Festival may be only two years old, but judging by this year’s turnout, it seems to be solidifying itself as part of Whitman culture. As for how it will continue to grow and change — Tewari, in particular, hinted that WEB may consider adding new activities in future years. We will just have to wait and see.