Annual Harvest Fest attracts local community

On Oct. 30, despite the windy weather, Mercer University hosted their annual Harvest Fest in Greek Village from 5-7:30 p.m. for children in the Macon community. The children ran anxiously from booth to booth to see what the next one would bring them, whether it was a game or treats. Their parents ran behind them and congratulated them on their prizes. Students happily welcomed the kids to try the games and make something sweet.
The event represented the jovial spirit associated with Halloween, and the youngsters enjoyed it. It is essentially a fall festival that parents can enjoy with their children in a friendly environment. Children, accompanied by their parents, came dressed in a great array of costumes. They came dressed as animals, superheroes, princesses, and so much more. Most of these kids were the children of Mercer employees, but the event was open to the general public.
Student and Greek organizations came out and set up interactive games and booths for young children to enjoy in the evening. The community got a chance to share with Mercer University students in the spirit of Halloween with a little trick-or-treating. There were cookie-decorating booths where children designed cookies with colorful icing and sprinkles. A booth was set up with fishing for candy, and there was also a haunted house.
Mercer students enjoyed their time volunteering at the booths and games with the children. The organizations spent a lot of time coming up with creative and fun things for the kids to do and they definitely succeeded. Caylor Johnson, a junior biology major who volunteered at the Phi Eta Sigma booth, said that “it was really fun!  The children seemed to be really enjoying themselves, and it was nice to see the community come together. The professors and their children came out in cool costumes, too.”
Harvest Fest has been around for around 10 to 15 years now and began with the Panhellenic Council, which encompasses four of the Greek sororities on Mercer’s campus. It started as an initiative to give back to the community. Then, the event evolved into a collaboration including the other Greek organizations, and finally all the organizations on Mercer’s campus.
Lizzie Layman, the Director of Philanthropy for Panhellenic Council, was in charge of planning this year’s Harvest Fest. Lizzie says, “I think that this is a very unique and fun tradition that Mercer has. I think that both faculty and students look forward to it and are excited to participate. It really makes me appreciate the community that is found at Mercer, and I know that the kids always have a great time getting to interact with the college students.” Greek Village was filled an abundance of Halloween spirit and lots of treats. Over time, Harvest Fest has developed into a big Mercer event which reaches out to the community and gets the students more involved.
Cindy Drury, Assistant Director of Campus Life, remarks that “it has become great cooperative effort….about 20 groups participated.” Organizations that participated include, but were not limited, to Pan, NPHC, IFC, APO, Latin Club, Mercer Educators in Action, a UNV class, and even one of Mercer’s Zumba classes. The class had been practicing for performing a “Thriller” dance at 6:30 p.m. during Harvest Fest. Cindy says that this performance added a new component to this year’s Harvest Fest. Many Mercer students remarked that they loved getting a chance to do something for the kids.