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Bereans Celebrate 131st Mountain Day

Oct. 18 - Surrounded by falling leaves and flying ladybugs, the BC community celebrated the 131st annual Mountain Day at Indian Fort. (See photo gallery at the end of this article.) Participants enjoyed lively entertainment, fun games, free food and, of course, a serene—albeit soggy—trip to the top of the Pinnacle.

Images from 131st Mountain Day celebration

The day began with the traditional sunrise concert at the top of the east pinnacle. Long before daybreak, members of Berea’s concert choir gathered in front of the Alumni Building along with members of the Berea College Country Dancers, Baptist Campus Ministry and other students willing to wake up before the sun. Vans shuttled students from campus to the foot of the mountain where the adventure began.

As the light began to bleed through the thick fog, the members of concert choir sang several songs atop the mountain, including an old spiritual by Moses Hogan called “Jericho.” The Country Dancers followed with a rousing performance of three traditional folk dances: one featuring the women, one highlighting the men and a combined dance, called “Big Set.”

“We chose the first two because they are danced with sticks, so we were able to pick up sticks on the mountain and use them in our dances,” said Country Dancer Rose Goble. “We did the last one because it is our signature performance piece, the dance we end every performance with. Plus it is fun!” Although dancing on the uneven mountaintop was challenging, Rose admits that it was an “awesome” experience.

For those who preferred to sleep in, the members of the agriculture department later transported students and faculty to the mountain in hay-filled wagons. The nature-lovers arrived at Indian Fort to find the pathway to the foot of the mountain lined with booths manned by students and staff. Young and old alike played games, received prizes and nibbled on kettle corn and cotton candy. Junior Keila Reeves was enthusiastic about her participation. “This has been the best Mountain Day ever because we got a lot of prizes and [there were] a lot of fun events,” she said. “The hay ride was the greatest!”

New to Mountain Day this year were the caricature artist Steve Gipson, Kyudo expert Maureen Reed, and magician Tom Hubbard. Reed traveled from Campbellsville, Ky., to demonstrate the art of Japanese archery called Kyudo. Reed said, “Kyudo is used for meditation, religious ceremonies and sport. It’s about developing as a whole person.”

Hubbard, who has been performing for over 60 years, did card tricks and other slight-of-hand illusions for curious crowds. “I did [magic] for 3 hours today and I thought it would be a bit much, but it was fun,” Hubbard said. “They were a good audience.”

Another new attraction—and arguably the most popular—was the Build-A-Bear booth, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. Participants crowded under a tent to stuff fluffy batting and sound modules into their furry friends. After assembling their bear, monkey or lion, the new proud parents received an official birth certificate for their cuddly creature.

“[Build-A-Bear] went over very well; everyone thought it was awesome!” said Shaina Ricketts, CAB chair. “They loved that the bears had t-shirts with the CAB logo, the Mountain Day theme and the year; they loved having a remembrance of the day.”

At the base of the mountain, visitors enjoyed a meal and entertainment in Indian Fort Theatre. This year’s performances were emceed by Rusty Sharp from radio station WUKY. The entertainment began with a performance by the members of the Berea Middle Eastern Dance group, decked out in flowing skirts and jingling hip-scarves. The Black Music Ensemble followed with a selection of three songs that had the audience on its feet, and then sophomore Nina Yarbrough passionately delivered two of her own poems before a captivated crowd. For the grand finale, Berea’s dance team, F.Y.A.H., performed to the hit “S.O.S.” by Rhianna as the spectators cheered along.

The highlight of Mountain Day for most was scaling the mountain. Many visitors hiked the muddy trail to either the east or west pinnacle, and some ambitious mountaineers, like Senior Josh Hoke, hiked both. “It’s my last time,” he said, “so I thought why not travel this whole mountain?”

Recent inclement weather caused the cancellation of the annual Race to the Summit, and, according to Campus Life Administrative Assistant Shalamar Sandifer, plans had been made to celebrate Mountain Day at Seabury Center if the rain continued. But as Sandifer said, “It wouldn’t be Mountain Day without the mountain!”

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