Looking for hot chocolate, Scott Kennedy pulled his three young girls around in a red Radio Flyer wagon Saturday morning during Anderson University’s annual Homecoming Street Fair and Ravenfest. “They are having so much fun,” said Kennedy, assistant professor of chemistry. Each of the girls were munching on their own bag of warm popcorn with cheeks donning freshly painted rainbows and AU megaphones. Six-year-old Cassie sported a glow-in-the-dark necklace. When asked what she thought of the event, Cassie’s face lit up, “It’s cool,” she said with a bright smile.
As Kennedy pulled the girls away, the wagon was soon lost in a sea of alumni, students, staff and faculty outfitted in orange and black walking up and down University Boulevard.
People gathered around booths set up by different social clubs and organizations on campus buying everything from corn dogs and caramel apples to T-shirts and baked goods.
1997 alumni Chuck Wiebe, with family in tow, said he loves to come back to campus to reconnect with old friends. “(I) have good memories of school,” said Wiebe. “We try to come every year at least for the Saturday morning fair. It’s nice being out here with good weather where the kids can have fun.”
And there was lots of fun to be had.
Near the giant inflatable bouncers and oversized obstacle courses, a tent was set up especially for kids with everything from miniature golf to a ring toss. Just outside the tent five-year-old Zachary Branson smiled as a clown attached an orange balloon parrot to his shoulder.
“It’s a parrot,” he said to his mother, Sarah Branson, wife of Dean Branson, director of Student Programs at the university.
Making a straight line to the inflatable games, Zachary said he couldn’t wait to go inside the giant airplane to jump around.
“We come every year,” said Sarah. “This is (Zachary’s) fourth time. The festivities are fun and it is very family-oriented. I think Zachary’s favorite part is the jumpy things.”
Walking up and down the street fair, smells of chicken and noodles, popcorn and sweet treats filled the air. People not only came to purchase clothing and treats but many came out to reconnect with old classmates.
Groups formed all morning, many beginning with a frenzy of hugs followed by, “Oh, my, it’s so good to see you! How have you been?” Some groups moved toward the fire pit to sit and sip hot coffee and hot chocolate while letting the children run and play.
The theme for this year’s homecoming is “Once a home, always a home” and no one could dispute the alumni had no trouble settling back in.
— Lynelle Miller is a reporter for the Herald Bulletin in Anderson, Indiana. Story reportinted with permission.