Kent State hosts 35th annual Black Squirrel Festival

Members of the sorority Alpha Phi pose standing in the Kent State fountain in Risman Plaza during the Black Squirrel Festival on Friday, Sept 9, 2016.

Nathaniel Harvey

Kent State hosted the 35th Annual Black Squirrel Festival Friday on the Student Green and Risman Plaza Friday.

The event kicked off at noon and lasted until 6 p.m., with music playing from Black Squirrel Radio, and many tables and booths set up with various organizations, clubs and local businesses from around the greater Kent area. The organizations, clubs and businesses handed out filers, T-shirts and other small, various freebies.

The event was more important this year than ever before after the cancellation of the annual back-to-school Blastoff event.

Being able to see all the organizations and clubs that Kent State offers was the most enjoyable part of Black Squirrel Fest, said senior zoology major, Bethany Sticklen.

She said this was the first Black Squirrel Fest she has attended in her years at Kent State.

A couple of the tables, including WKSU, the National Public Radio station in Kent, had a wheel for people to spin, to win prizes and deals from the organization.

Students could also purchase merchandise from companies like AT&T, the Kent State food truck and local vendors.

Students were able to stock-up on freebies like T-shirts, pens, sticky notes and various other items such as lip balm and nail files. Organizations used Black Squirrel Fest as a way to hand out branded materials at no cost to students.

Some of the local businesses, such as Puff n’ Stuff, set up shop and were handing out fliers as well as selling merchandise.

Black Squirrel Fest is a smaller Blastoff, where organizations, clubs and local businesses set up tables where students can learn more about what that certain organization is about. Since Blastoff was cut short, due to issues with weather, some organizations were excited to be able to get their name out there during this festival.

“I think it’s really important, especially at the beginning of the year, to get our name out there, and since Blastoff was cancelled, this was our only other opportunity to get like a mass group of people in the same place to tell them about our organization,” said Rachel Marchese, vice president of Communications and Marketing for Hillel.