Kenyon students braved a torrential downpour this Friday to celebrate Summer Sendoff, an event that featured live music from student band Paul Obie and pop and hip-hop duo Social House. Besides music, the event also boasted food trucks and an AVI-catered dinner in Peirce Dining Hall. Although this year’s inclement weather dampened the event’s traditional summer festival-esque atmosphere, students embraced the rain-induced improvisations throughout the evening to make the most of the celebratory occasion.
Sponsored annually by Social Board and the Office of Student Engagement (OSE), this year’s Sendoff was in the works since October, when Social Board began its search for a headliner. The anticipation was further heightened following the announcement that a student band would be performing as the opening act (the first time since 2009) and recent circulation of rumors regarding Social Board’s alleged misuse of funds. In addition to live music, the event promised a beer garden, food trucks and a T-shirt giveaway.
Due to heavy rain, AVI moved the picnic foods it had originally planned to serve outside — such as burgers, watermelon, corn dogs and ice cream — into the dining hall’s servery. Hundreds of students, many of them intoxicated and almost all of them soaked, flooded into Peirce sporting festival-inspired outfits and plastic ponchos to eat dinner before returning outdoors to brave the elements.
Although the eating arrangements in Peirce did not provide the picnicking-feel that Social Board President Lilly Richart ’23 had hoped to create, she noted that the indoor dining worked quite well to enhance the memorable aspects of the event. “Everyone was soaking wet and running around and it was chaos, but it was a very fun chaos,” she said. “I think it really ended up working in a way that didn’t take away from the event at all.”
Outside on Ascension Lawn, Paul Obie took the stage at around 7:15 p.m. to a small crowd of students that gradually increased in size as the arrival of the headliner drew closer. Social House made its appearance at 8:10 p.m. and performed several of its better-known songs, such as “boyfriend” and “Magic in the Hamptons.” Students were especially excited to hear “Magic in the Hamptons,” with the most passionate fans forming circles for others to take turns dancing in. At times the performance inspired a rowdier crowd that led to ketchup-drenched french fries flying through the air before landing in some attendees’ hair and splattering on their foreheads.
Many students came to Sendoff to enjoy the treats being offered by food trucks, such as shaved ice, fried doughnuts and breaded zucchini sticks. “The best part of Sendoff is the food,” declared Caleb Newman ’24, who added that besides the doughnuts, he also wholeheartedly enjoyed the shaved ice from Kona Ice. “I made it a slushie because I put so much juice in it,” he said. “I put a little too much — rookie mistake — but I didn’t want to just eat ice so I just made sure.”
The event had something for everyone, and despite the less-than-favorable weather conditions, Richart emphasized that it was an overall success. “People were still outside in the rain and still hanging out with each other and running around and having fun, even through a downpour, which was really just so heartwarming to see,” she said. “To still see everyone come together and have a great time, despite adverse conditions; it was just really amazing.”
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