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Students gather for West Fest celebration

West Fest celebrates the end of the year for students.
West Fest celebrates the end of the year for students.

People filled the Ernst Nature Theatre behind Peabody Hall on Saturday to celebrate the end of the year with West Fest.

The celebration consisted of ice cream, cotton candy and food from Sweets & Meats BBQ and El Caporal, along with palm reading, tie-dye and more. Performers from the Cincinnati Circus were also present.

Billy Simms, the Western Center coordinator, organized this event with Jonathan James, assistant director for student engagement in the Honors College. Simms said they have been planning this year’s West Fest since October.

“The Western College for Women, which was the women’s college that was here that Miami bought in 1977, used to have a May Day Fest,” Simms said. “At some point, I don’t know when it was decided that we should do our own version of that.”

Simms said this year they had a turnout of about 400 people, which remained steady all day. For Simms, the best part was enjoying the moment.

“[My favorite part is] seeing everyone have fun, and being thankful that it’s a beautiful day and it’s not raining outside,” Simms said. “It’s going well and it’s fun.”

Photo by Stella Powers | The Miami Student
The beautiful day brought out many students to western campus's Peabody Hall.

Casey Williams, a first-year undecided major, brought his trombone to West Fest and played a rendition of “Old Town Road” and had his instrument recreated by a balloon artist.

“[At West Fest] they make balloon animals,” Williams said. “[And] I got a squid-octopus hybrid [temporary tattoo].”

Williams also made a tie-dye shirt, which he designed inspired by the sun.

Molly Hearsch, a sophomore anthropology major, learned about West Fest from her resident assistant (RA). Hearsch thought it would be a fun way to spend her Saturday afternoon.

“We went to the food trucks which were delicious, and then we went and said hi to the balloon animal people,” Hearsch said.

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Hearsch also made a tie-dye shirt and was surprised by the presence of mimes and jugglers at the event.

“To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into when I came down here, but it’s fun,” Hearsch said.

Grace Schnier, a first-year English literature major, also found out about West Fest from her RA, and it ended up being a lot more fun than she expected. She said she came for the free food, which she enjoyed, but also found other things she liked, too.

“The free food was delicious, but the music is also lovely,” Schnier said. “There’s so many things. We’re waiting in line right now to get our palms read. There’s tarot reading, there’s henna too and they have these really awesome tote bags that I picked up with prints on them.”

Schnier said there was a mime going around leaving notes on people, saying things such as “awesome outfit” and “pretty girl.”

The weather ended up being nice for the event, which Schnier was happy about. She also liked how close West Fest was to Ernst Nature Theatre.

“People are nice. I’m having fun and it’s just fantastic,” Schnier said. “I’m enjoying it a lot.”