By Zack Downing, Staff Writer
Going away to college for the first time is an exciting and new experience for students, but it’s also emotional for moms and dads who have raised them for eighteen years and are saying goodbye for the first time.
Almost every student starts missing their home and family for the first couple of months, as a first-year student or even sometimes as a senior.
Fortunately, there’s a time every year where students and families can reunite for an afternoon of fun at UMass Dartmouth.
It’s called the Fall Family Festival, and it’s one of the biggest highlights of the first semester.
The family and guardians of any UMass Dartmouth student can visit campus for a day and experience a myriad of options for having fun and learning about the school.
This year, sporadic rain showers dampened the crowd of eager visitors who came to enjoy the festival. The rain couldn’t stop the show though, and thanks to tents and determination, none of the planned events were cancelled.
The rain didn’t dampen the spirit of the UMass Dartmouth families either; there were just over 3,000 people registered to visit campus for the day, which is the most for any Fall Festival to date.
Director of the SAIL Office, Christopher Laib has had a big hand in setting up the festival every year. He’s passionate about generating activities around campus and drawing in crowds for annual events, but being behind all the fun doesn’t come without a share of stress.
Considering the difficulty of preparing for the event he said, “The hardest part might be being dependent on the weather for a successful event. The last four years we’ve had great weather, but this year it wasn’t as autumn-like as we would have hoped.”
Despite the showers, the festival still ran strong. Under tents, there was live music for guests to listen to as they chowed down on handheld waffles, caramel apples and cider donuts.
UMass Dartmouth hosted the World Premier Band, who performed original material and covered hit songs. Local singer Craig Demelo also entertained the visitors with his music.
There were carnival games such as ring-toss for kids and adults to enjoy, and hundreds of homemade and artfully crafted items.
You could pick up jewelry, purses, UMass Dartmouth merchandise, and more at stands around campus. The campus store was also open for business, and the Fall Festival was one of the busiest days for selling college gear.
A competitive spirit was also found out on Cressy Field during the Festival. UMass Dartmouth hosted a football game and a field hockey game that parents could go out and spectate.
The rain did nothing to ruin the two matches for the Corsairs. In fact, UMass Dartmouth shut out Mass Maritime 33-0 in the football game.
With more visitors came more events and more fun for the students and families of UMass Dartmouth. If your family couldn’t make it, don’t worry, because it happens every October, and the list of visitors just keeps growing. The rain couldn’t trump one of the biggest Fall Family Festivals to date.