Leaves drifted from the sky, rain drizzled and a cool breeze swept through the trees as students tromped down Wiggin Street with their parents in tow. On Saturday, the Brown Family Environmental Center (BFEC) hosted its annual Fall Harvest Festival for residents of Gambier, Mount Vernon and the surrounding area. In spite of the gloomy weather, the grounds were packed with people and activities, including food trucks and tents that offered wood carvings, fresh honey and apples on strings suspended from trees. The BFEC had live music throughout the day, including BABA NGIDA West African Traditional Band, Howard and Judy Sacks, the Kenyon Bluegrass Ensemble and Kenyon student performers.
The BFEC hosted multiple hayrides, which ran throughout the day. Two large black-and-white horses pulled an attached wagon bed that could fit around 10 people into the fields to tour the grounds of the BFEC. Students also roamed the festival on foot with their parents, stopping at booths and enjoying the activities despite the stormy weather. “We’ve been looking at some of the booths, there’s some lovely handmade crafts,” Mosss Szaraz ’27 said. “It looks like everyone is having a good time and coming out despite the rain.”
Multiple student organizations tabled throughout the event, offering different activities for students and families to partake in. The Kenyon ECO Club offered crafts using paper and leaves to make animals, while the Kenyon Photography Club hosted a fall-themed photo station for students and their families. Other organizations, such as the Kenyon Review, tabled for the festival as well. “We had multiple fall-related poetry activities — many people participated!” Simon Gess ’27, a volunteer for the Kenyon Review’s table, said in an interview with the Collegian.
There were two food trucks present at the event: Guelaguetza and Zaki. Guelaguetza served Mexican food, and Zaki offered gyros, falafel, hummus, shawarma and more. There was also an apple cider press and cider donuts, as well as booths selling cookies and other treats. Student volunteers painted faces with spooky, Halloween-themed designs like bats and spider webs. The Kenyon Farm hosted a pumpkin painting stand, and there was a tent for carving makeshift vases out of pumpkins by poking holes into the skin and then sticking in dried flowers, grasses and other vegetation.
Community businesses showed up as well: Schoolhouse Woodcrafts was there from Mount Vernon, with handmade bowls, rolling pins, wooden ornaments and bird houses spanning a wide range of sizes. Ohio Flint and Woodworking had a tent with ornately carved chess boards, cutting boards, cheese boards and coasters. Broken Oak Farm & Apiary offered local pure raw honey, beeswax candles and other pollinator-related goods. Celebrate Your Plate was inside the farmhouse with apple nachos, recipe calendars and a wealth of information about fruits and vegetables. “I ate an apple with chocolate that they called nachos, which I found a little confusing. It did taste pretty good. Oh, and there were pretzels,” Sam Vanderweele ’27 said.
Despite the rainy start to the day, the contributions of local community organizations, the BFEC team, student volunteers, student organizations and food trucks ensured that the event still attracted a multitude of attendees.