July 14, 2020
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Horse-drawn wagon rides, pumpkin decorating and a bonfire for marshmallow toasting are some activities planned for the Brown Family Environmental Center’s annual Fall Harvest Festival.
The Family Weekend event among hundreds of trees in their fall colors will run from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at the College’s 480-acre nature preserve. The festival will feature nature crafts, a pumpkin volcano science experiment, llamas to pet and children’s games, including sack races and pumpkin rolling.
People can take a turn cranking a press to churn out apple cider. “There is nothing like apple cider this fresh!” BFEC Director Heather Doherty ’98 said.
The festival, which attracted about 500 students and visitors last year, is especially meaningful this year because the environmental center is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a place for connecting people with nature, she said. “It is a celebration of the season and a great time to be outdoors with friends and family.”
BFEC student managers Erin Keleske ’18 and Addy Wagner ’18, who live in a house on the property down the Hill, helped organize the festival. Wagner, of Castle Pines, Colorado, said their job is to recruit students to events, including activities that the managers plan for most weeks, such as hikes, tubing on the Kokosing River and trail cleanups.
“We’re pretty much in charge of making the connection between campus and the BFEC,” said Keleske, of Racine, Wisconsin. “We try to get people down there and give them outdoor time.”
For the pumpkin volcanoes presented by SPI Spot, the science and technology play space in Mount Vernon, people will mix baking soda and vinegar inside hollow pumpkins to cause the "eruption." Pumpkin decorating with Ohio State University master gardeners is popular, using about 200 pumpkins in two hours, Doherty said. Six Miles to Nellie, a band from Mount Vernon, will provide live music.
A photo show will feature submissions from more than 50 community members and students who entered the 18th Knox County Nature Photography Contest, run by the environmental center each year in conjunction with the festival. Photographers were asked to showcase the county’s natural beauty. Festivalgoers will vote on a “people’s choice” award, which will be announced Saturday along with other winners, including the top photos in the student category.
– Elana Spivack ’17