By Jennifer Willis
Photos by Jak Keyser
GCU was invaded by pirates, monsters and a few cute little bugs Thursday evening at the annual Fall Festival on the Mariposa Lawn.
Children and their parents from all over the community came to campus to enjoy some safe, Halloween-style fun, with many dressing up in costume.
Jennifer Girl of Event Services, who planned and organized much of the festival, said the event was a huge success, bigger and better than ever. Over the course of three hours, an estimated 6,000 visitors came to campus.
“The kids loved the large variety of games offered,” Girl said. “The food booths were busy and running out of food. Last call for candy came around 7:45 p.m., but the community didn’t care, they stayed even past when the event ended, enjoying the atmosphere.
“As a GCU family, we certainly know how to let the community know how much we appreciate them!”
This year’s event included many of the same items that have made it successful in the past, such as inflatable bounce houses and the ever-popular cotton candy machine. Additional attractions included a fire department ladder truck, with firefighters giving children lifts in the bucket of the truck. That drew a long line.
As always, there were many carnival-style games, giving children the opportunity to interact with some of GCU’s athletes and fill up their bags with candy at the same time.
Justine Majan of the women’s tennis team was helping at the festival for the first time.
“This is amazing,” Majan said while helping at a candy table. “There are a lot of people here, and I am having fun playing with all of the kids. It’s a great atmosphere.”
Maylinn Smith, a sophomore on the women’s basketball team, also said she was enjoying herself.
“The interaction between all the students and the citizens of the community is great,” Smith said. “Our team made all of our own signs for our booth welcoming them, and we’re just really enjoying hanging out with the kids. They’re our biggest fans, after all.”
Girl said the event couldn’t have been successful without the help of GCU’s volunteers.
“Such a wonderful event is due to a wonderful GCU family,” she said. “A big thank-you for all the candy collected and to all of those who hosted a booth, helped set up and tear down, and greeted the local community.
“Because of you, we were able to give back to our community and provide them a safe place to enjoy an evening of fun, games and treats. The Fall Festival could not have been done without each and every one of you!”
Reach Jennifer Willis at 639.7383 or [email protected].