Saturday, April 23 marked a day full of classic St. Mary’s fun as the first annual Bottom County Festival at Chancellor’s Point kicked off with frisbees flying, t-shirt dyeing, and music playing. Sponsored by the Chancellor’s Point Club with help from Historic St. Mary’s City and Student Government Association Programs Board, the event was created not only to show off the beautiful area of Chancellor’s Point, but also to bring St. Mary’s students together for what they do best: hanging out in the sun.
Named after the nickname of St. Mary’s County as being the “bottom county” of Maryland, as well as a nod to past generations of St. Mary’s College who used to host music festivals titled the Bottom County Festival in the 1970’s, the event truly exemplified everything about St. Mary’s College culture.
Senior Megan Knipp who sits on the Executive Board of the Chancellor’s Point Club stated that the club members agreed that the name of the festival “was a good representation of what the club and Chancellor’s Point is about: getting back to our roots, both figuratively and literally. The club is about enjoying and respecting what nature has to offer.”
Not only was the event all about fun in the sun, but many other clubs and organizations set up booths in order to show their support as well as show off their own activities. The Campus Farm handed out free samples of their freshly grown kale, the Grilling Club continuously supplied free hamburgers and hotdogs throughout the event, Yera Dé Herbal Teas was taking “Earth Day Pledges” from visitors, the workers from the waterfront brought down kayaks for all to enjoy, and the Windsurfing Club gave out free windsurfing lessons.
“The weather was absolutely gorgeous and everything was very St. Mary’s laid back,” said senior Megan Tawes, who attended the festival. “I had a friend visiting and it was the perfect event to take her to in order to show what St. Mary’s if all about.”
The idea for the Bottom County Festival has been in the works for over a year. Brought up by a past alumnus Mike Benjamin ’09, who sat on the committee last year, the club agreed that hosting an event at the Chancellor’s Point site would be a perfect opportunity to show the St. Mary’s community what the site is all about. “Will Eaton [senior and Chancellor’s Point liaison], with the help from the club members and volunteers, put a good amount of time setting it up,” said Knipp. “The logistics were not easy to figure out. He deserves most of the credit for the festival.”
Along with being able to take the 30-minute walking trail down to Chancellor’s Point through Historic St. Mary’s City, students were also able to grab a ride down from Daugherty-Palmer Commons on one of the volunteer-run shuttles running straight to Chancellor’s Point, as well as taking part in a bike trip to the site organized by senior Aaron French.
Many students also visited the site in order to support and hear some of their fellow peers play music, including Tilapia Friday, DJ Graceland, and Three Man River Band.
Artists and jewelry makers had a venue to try to sell their work, frisbee enthusiasts had large grassy areas to throw around the disc or play Ultimate pick-up with friends, and by the day’s end most festival-goers had colorful hands due to either the tie-dye or face painting stations.
“I had a great time at the Bottom County Festival,” said sophomore Andy Krzys. “It was a lot of people relaxing in the sun together and having fun.”
Chancellor’s Point club members are hoping to continue the Bottom County Festival as an annual tradition in years to come. “I hope this year was the first of many more Bottom County Festivals at Chancellor’s Point,” said Knipp. “It is up to the underclassmen to carry on the tradition, and I know they are more than capable. Next year is going to be even better! And I will definitely be there to see it.”