By Yna Davis, Contributing Writer
St. Mary’s students were brought together on Sat, April 12 for the Bottom County Festival, a beautiful day of off-campus fun at nearby nature park Chancellor’s Point. An annual event since 2011, when it was brought back by the suggestion of alumnus Mike Benjamin (’09), the Bottom County Festival is named for the SMCM-sponsored music festivals of the 1970s. This year, it was organized by Chancellor’s Point Club members, juniors Anna Groman, Jillian Hurst, Elmo Garcia, Eva Shpak, and sophomore Sarah Holter.
The main draw of this year’s event–besides the gorgeous waterfront views and a perfect sunny day for lazing on the beach – was the music. This year, the festival featured nine bands and performers, including campus staples Manhole, Apple Thesis, and The Stowaway, in a line-up that kept music coming all afternoon.
“I thought that the live performances were amazing and entertaining, and the tables that had activities or were selling stuff were interesting and fun as well,” said first-year Jessica Wung. “I loved getting my face painted and listening to people perform.”
The festival’s set-up was great for attendees who wanted to try a bit of everything. Students sat in the grass surrounding the stage to watch the acts or wandered the tables surrounding them to peruse the tables of activities and items for sale. As in past years, the festival’s organizers offered tabling opportunities to students and community members, and this year featured more crafts for sale than ever. Student artists offered garlands, jewelry, paper cranes, and more, while other tables sold items including an assortment of plants and colorful clothing items. For those without money, other tables offered free tie-dying, music demos, and drinks. Some of the biggest hits were on-campus groups: the Sustainability Office offered stickers and seed balls to attendees who tried their recycling game, and those who arrived early got to build a fence with Habitat for Humanity.
Of course, as always, when attendees had seen all they wanted to see, Chancellor’s Point itself was open for exploration. Many festival-goers had opted to walk or bike to the Festival, but the paths, beach, and tire swing were swarmed with relaxing students. This year’s senior class may be the first which has had an opportunity to come to the Festival every year since its beginning, and many wanted to make the most of it this year.
“I really enjoyed the fact that it’s a student-run festival because it really exemplifies the carefree ‘St. Mary’s way,’” said senior Rachel Braunstein. “I hope it’s something that future classes continue because it’s reminiscent of a past St. Mary’s that we are known for.”