Kenyon kicked off the fall with its 99th annual Homecoming Weekend, featuring Social Board’s Fall Fest, the musical flair of the WKCO barbeque and lively football and soccer games.
On Saturday morning, students, faculty and members of the surrounding community came to Peirce Lawn for the Social Board’s Fall Fest. Across the entire lawn, there were fall-themed activities to choose from as the breezy weather rolled in. People lined up to participate in pumpkin painting, with paint pallets in a wide range of fall colors available to any would-be pumpkin artist. Social Board also provided tote bags for people to decorate and take home. The food included apple pie, apple cider and even cookies to decorate. Everyone on the lawn was surrounded by energetic music.
Social Board President Lilly Richart ’23 noted that a part of what made Fall Fest so special was that there were activities both alumni and students could enjoy. “There are a lot of tours this weekend, and just for prospective students to see some of the activities that happen on campus … It’s just a very fun activity to bring in fall,” she said.
The lawn was filled with games like cornhole, bubble soccer and even a zipline. “The zipline was so much fun! I was a little bit scared at first because it was much higher than it seemed from the ground, but once I jumped I was flying over fall fest,” Annabelle Hicks ’26 wrote in an email to the Collegian.
A vibrant green and yellow inflatable corn maze stood by Peirce and couldn’t help but catch every passerby’s eye. A contest to guess how many candy corn pumpkins were in a jar drew a lot of excitement. “It brings the community together in a really warm, positive way, celebrating what’s special about Kenyon,” Social Board member Nick Kloor ’26 said.
At the same time as Fall Fest, there was a spirited block party near the Lowry Center in anticipation of the Owls football vs. Ohio Wesleyan game. The block party was energetic, and there were many people tailgating with food and drinks. Under an event tent, alumni passed out Kenyon gear and people enjoyed food. Children and students alike rode a “mechanical pumpkin” located next to the Lowry Center, and laughter filled the air throughout the day.
Enthusiasm was prominent as fans gathered in the McBride Field bleachers to watch the Owls football game at 1 p.m. During halftime, the new Kenyon Athletic Hall of Fame inductees were introduced. Fans cheered as the alumni were honored for their outstanding work in Kenyon Athletics. The final score of the football game was 14-41, but the Kenyon community will always support the Owls, win or lose.
On the music scene, WKCO, Kenyon’s student-run radio station, hosted a barbeque behind Unity House. Pop and indie music could be heard around the block, enticing everyone to come to the event. Students ate barbeque food on blankets and enjoyed the lively atmosphere that WKCO created. The radio station also fundraised by selling eye-catching graphic T-shirts and vintage records. “We are so happy to see so many come out and support not only WKCO but music in general at Kenyon! It was a lovely way to meet everyone and for people to get more acquainted with our space and what we do,” General Managers Abby Navin and Julia Majesky wrote in an email to the Collegian.
The last event of the day was the Owls men’s soccer game against Case Western Reserve University on Mavec Field. Spectators filled the bleachers and the hill overlooking the field. The game was exciting from start to finish as Kenyon scored again and again. Every attendee of the game felt the purple pride soar from the stands. The Kenyon College Cheer Team handed out purple and white Kenyon scarves, and adoring fans wore them proudly as the Owls continued to knock the game out of the park. As the sun set, the final buzzer rang with the score at 4-0, making this the men’s soccer team’s eighth consecutive win of their undefeated season.
“The soccer and football games … provided great opportunities for students, faculty, staff and alumni to gather and celebrate Kenyon. Sporting events provide a great focal point for bringing people together and supporting our community,” Director of Athletics, Fitness and Recreation Jill McCartney wrote in an email to the Collegian.
Acting President Jeff Bowman shared that a highlight of the weekend for him was a dinner for alumni volunteers who had returned to campus. “It was a lot of fun to get to chat with them and hear what they were up to and give them a sort of update about what’s going on on campus.”
Vice President of Student Affairs Celestino Limas shared his fondness for his second Homecoming at Kenyon. “I could see Kenyon wanting to make Homecoming a bit unique to us,” he said. Limas said that Kenyon is striving to listen to what students want their Homecoming to look like.
Whichever events someone attended last weekend, they were bound to have a good time. Homecoming Weekend encapsulated the spirit of the entire Kenyon community, ushering in a great fall season.