The threat of rain was evident on October 4—however that didn’t stop many students, faculty and staff from gathering on the lawn just outside the Dorothy W. Quimby library to taste, watch and learn about the mythic apple. The weather did not dampen the festivalgoers, and the annual fall Unity event did not disappoint.

There was apple art, a feast for the eyes, and just about everything edible which involves apples: crisp, fritters, sauce, fresh-pressed cider and caramel-covered on a stick. There was even a bicycle-powered blender, mixing up smoothies made with local ingredients for attendees to enjoy.

AppleFest is a yearly event sponsored by the Unity Experience Class, a first year course that all students must take. The core goals of the class include personal development and growth, community engagement and involvement in order to attain a common goal, and the demonstration of environmental responsibility. There is also a service component involved in the coursework.

Now in its 4th year, the on-campus fall festival is a celebration of Maine and many things related to living in our fine state: rural living, agriculture, fall and community.

With student/faculty input facilitated through planning, debriefing, and brainstorming, the event has evolved each year. The typical process is that after the current year’s AppleFest has taken place, the class offers ideas on what worked, what wasn’t successful, what could be improved and suggestions on how next year’s event could be even better. There are, of course, several components to the AppleFest that all tend to agree should remain unchanged: offer an incredible array of food and make sure that the bicycle-powered blender has its regular place on the library lawn so that attendees can enjoy a fruit smoothie.

Friday, October 12, 2012