SPEC to host first fall festival with free food and pumpkin patch on College Green

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College Green on October 14, 2022. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

The Social Planning and Events Committee will host its first SPEC Fest this weekend with a number of fall-themed activities and food.

At SPEC Fest, taking place Saturday from 1-3 p.m. on College Green, festival-goers can take part in a variety of activities such as a pumpkin patch, corn maze, apple factory, photo booths, garden games, inflatable structures, as well as tattoo artists. Food will be provided by a variety of vendors, and apple cider and La Colombe coffee will also be served, according to the SPEC executive committee.

SPEC was founded in 1990 with the goal of organizing campus-wide social and cultural events, according to the Student Affairs Office. SPEC consists of nine sub-committees and is overseen by a Board of Directors. The group is best known for its annual report spring fantasy concert.

SPEC President and College Senior Evonna Moody said the board has been planning for SPEC Fest since the summer.

“It’s been a challenge because it’s a revival of an old tradition,” she said, adding that SPEC was faced with the reimagining of past fall festivals and events at Penn. “The goal of SPEC Fest is to revive what was Skimmer fest, a collaboration between Class Board and SPEC.”

Skimmer, a Penn tradition that began in 1949, featured a weekend of concerts and social events during the spring semester. It traced its origins to February 1949 as a small gathering celebrating the Daily Pennsylvanian rowing team, according to Penn records. It eventually evolved into a weekend-long celebration called Spring Fling in 1973.

In September 2011, the 2013 and 2014 class councils attempted to recreate Skimmer and held an event with food, hot air balloon rides and music to celebrate the start of the sports season.

“Although this is the first iteration of SPEC Fest, there is nothing foreign to SPEC,” Moody said, adding that SPEC is very familiar with organizing events for students. . “It’s a simple and very effective way to bring the Penn community together.”

As part of its annual programming, SPEC Knowledge and SPEC Film co-hosted the director and producer Spike Lee November 1 for a lecture at the Irvine Auditorium.

Moody said SPEC was inspired by similar events at peer institutions, but emphasized the uniqueness of SPEC Fest in that it is planned entirely by students.

“SPEC is returning to its former glory. I think we’ve been suffocated by the pandemic,” Moody said. “SPEC Fest not only fulfills our duty to plan events that resonate with the Penn community, but also pursues our personal goals of bringing SPEC back to its former glory.”

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