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BC Kicks Off Sesquicentennial Year

On Thursday, September 8th, the college community gathered to kick-off the fall semester and the beginning of the sesquicentennial year, Berea College’s 150th anniversary.

Many attended the picnic and had a great time.

The "Homespun Fair," held Thursday, September 8, in the Quadrangle, was more than fair. It was a festive event with country grub, costumed participants, activities for kids, a sand sculpture and an enormous birthday cake.

Festooned with corn shucks and hay bales, the Quad saw images of old as staff dressed up in 1850-era garb. Even President Larry Shinn and First Lady Nancy were clad in old-time wear!

Though spirited faculty contributed to the merry atmosphere, the surrounding events and activities did their fair share, too. On the grounds one could take a pony ride, sit down for a face painting, observe some antique weaving and thread-making, take a ride on the "air train," or, for the adventurous, go bobbing for apples! For those who'd rather relax and enjoy the jovial atmosphere, there was a continual rotation of musical entertainment, ranging from the talents of the gifted fiddler, Jake Krack, to the harmonious voices of the Black Musical Ensemble. Attendee Molly Barnett, a Junior, is honorarily, BME's #1 fan:"BME is always great. I've never missed a concert since I've been here," which is only a small part of what could be said of the tremendous talent that performed.

Amongst all the festivities, two features stood out: a sand sculpture and a birthday cake. The sand sculpture, crafted by Berea College alumnus Damon Farmer, was an enormous tribute to college's 150 years legacy. Two students, one a female from BC's earlier days, and the other a male in front of a computer, sat juxtaposed at the base of the sculpture. Above, the background was molded into trees, mountains, a log cabin, and a piece of Draper Building. Laid into that background was a larger-than-life bust of Founder John G. Fee. The unbelievably life-like replica was crafted to make it seem that Fee was gazing out onto the horizon, watchfully looking over the crowd, yet also looking into the future. This 20-ton masterpiece was only rivaled by the enormous black and white birthday cake. This monstrosity had to be carried out by six cake carriers. It was then ceremoniously sliced and then doled out to the surrounding crowd. Sophomore Jessi Trout commented, "It was the size of THREE college students! It was amazing."

As the night wound down, many stayed for the evening performance from JASPECTS, a jazz group from Morehead College in Atlanta, GA. Camped out in folding chairs, sprawled out on picnic blankets, or up and dancing to the funky grooves of the bands, the crowd enjoyed the concert.

Though many called it a night after that, the celebration will continue with various events throughout this academic year. So, if you missed the kickoff event, you'll have the opportunity to attend one of the sesquicentennial events coming up--it's never too late to be a part of "150 Years of Learning, Labor & Service."

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