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United in Community

End of the year festival celebration

By Chrysa Keenon | Contributor  

Before you break out those books and enter the panic mode of Dead Week, take some time this Saturday to enjoy a new way to experience Upland, for free. From 4 to 8 p.m., the Community Outreach (CO) division of Taylor World Outreach (TWO) will host the Unity Festival at Depot Park in Upland. CO plans and creates events such as Community Plunge to connect students with the surrounding community during their four years of college. After a successful debut last year, the Unity Festival will return as CO’s final event of the year.

The event has been in the making since last year. Sophomores Jen Cline and Nolan Sponseller, co-directors of the department, had planned new ideas to get students involved in the Upland community, as a sort of “thank you” to the townspeople. The Unity Festival is the result of these brainstorming sessions and is sure to connect the two demographics in a fun and exciting way. Cline and Sponseller spent about three months planning the festival.

According to Cline, “Service is a big part of what Community Outreach does during the school year, so we hope that we can further serve the Upland community members by offering this event to them as well as the students.”

Sponsored by the Lion’s Club, the event provides hot dogs, cotton candy, shaved ice and ice cream for patrons’ enjoyment. Throughout the festival and during the concerts, yard games such as cornhole and Spikeball are available for play. The bands include Chris Renzema, The Night Lights, The Jon Warren Band and Cumberland Gap.

Taylor students may recognize their classmates in The Night Lights and Jon Warren Band. The Night Lights is an all-male acapella group, which will use the Unity Festival as a goodbye to two graduating senior members.

Even professors are participating in the festival. Professor of physics and engineering Bob Davis and his wife Ellen are leaders in the bluegrass band Cumberland Gap. Former Taylor student Chris Renzema transferred to Belmont University last year to study music. Renzema recently released a new EP and is coming back to play some of his new songs during the concert.

With free food and entertainment, the Unity Festival is the perfect break from the impending doom of Dead Week. Enjoy one last hurrah with your friends from across campus, and be sure to make new acquaintances in town!

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