Despite the forecast for rain on Saturday, Lehigh’s Community Service Office held its 14th annual Spring Fling carnival in Grace Hall to foster interaction between the Lehigh and surrounding Bethlehem communities.
The event provided free food, crafts, games and other attractions that were open to all Bethlehem families.
Each year, the event’s activities are centered around a different theme. This year the Community Service Office transformed Grace Hall into a rodeo for the day. Some of the attractions featured were a haystack photo booth, inflatables, a bungee run, rodeo-related arts and crafts, Easter egg decorating and a mechanical bull.
Activity and snack tables were set up on the main level of Grace Hall, while tables with pizza, hot dogs, french fries and Italian ices were offered on the upstairs level of the building. Admission to the event and all of the food was entirely free of charge.
“It’s nice to have non-students come onto Lehigh’s campus because it just helps to bridge the gap between the Bethlehem community and Lehigh student body, and to make everyone feel comfortable with one another,” said Katherine Fletcher, ’16, one of the event coordinators. “It’s even nice to see some of the school organizations get to have positive experiences with the children from the surrounding area since we all live in the same place.”
The planning committee consisted of two event coordinators, along with the director of the Community Service Office and the rest of the office’s staff. Together, they gathered volunteers, planned the theme and activities accordingly, collected food donations and kept the event running smoothly.
Spring Fling is one of the Community Service Office’s most popular events, comparable to their Spooktacular event that is held in the fall. Twenty clubs and organizations volunteered by running the activity booths, and more than 1,300 individuals attended the event. The turnout was larger than expected despite the unpredictable weather forecast and relocation of the event from its usual spot on the University Center front lawn.
“Everyone’s having a great time,” said Dalyan Kosar, ’18, who worked the bouncy house inflatable. “Today is a great opportunity for people to have just a good time hanging out. This is just a great event you can take your kids to for some family bonding. It’s a good time for the kids and families to see Lehigh’s campus.”
An 11-year-old Bethlehem resident reflected on her experience with Spring Fling, as this was not her first time attending the event. She said her favorite part of the day was all of the fun activities.
While the arts and crafts were a big hit, the bouncy house with a slide and the mechanical bull were the attractions that drew the longest lines. Many families also put on cowboy hats and other props to take pictures in the photo booth.
Due to the relocation to Grace Hall, the traditional egg hunt was not held. However, the Community Service Office staff hid eggs around Grace Hall for the kids to find throughout the day to claim a special prize.
“Spring Fling is just a great program, and I can’t stress enough that we can’t do it without the incredible support of our fraternities, sororities, clubs, and organizations,” said Carolina Hernandez, the director of the Community Service Office. “We all together make this happen and so it’s such an incredible day and experience for everyone. We’re just thankful that we have the opportunity to make this event happen.”