Community Day to bring events of the past to this year

Hot air balloons, mobile petting zoos and golfing in the library will all be on campus.

Community Day is a day where volunteers host family-friendly attractions that bridge together people from the college and the communities of Hartford, West Hartford and Bloomfield.

Started in April 2002, the event has been coordinated by John Easterbrook and a panel of 15 staff members that come up with the various events at the annual Community Days over the years.

“If you add up all the exhibits and attractions and events, there’s more than 50 each year,” said Easterbrook. “So there’s a lot going on here for over a four hour span.”

In light of this year being the tenth anniversary of Community Day, several events from past years will be making an appearance along with new events.

One of the more notable events from past years to return to Community Day in time for its tenth anniversary is Library Mini-Golf.  This event consists of a mini golf course set up on the first floor of the Mortensen Library.  Another notable event returning to Community Day is a tethered hot air balloon ride.

“The theme this year was for the tenth anniversary to bring back some of the favorites of past years,” said Easterbrook. “The balloon is one of them, the library mini golf was another very popular thing. We have a petting zoo which will be back again and that’s another popular favorite. It’s actually a petting zoo on wheels, so people go into a mobile vehicle and see a wide range of animals just like at the zoo.”

One of the new events will be a Limerick reading at the Gengras Student Union building, hosted by the Presidents’ College in honor of the 200th birthday of renowned author Edward Lear.  The Presidents’ College have come up with something new each year for Community Day.

“They’ve done everything from recite all of Shakespeare’s sonnets over a multi-hour period to read all of the words from one letter in Webster’s Dictionary,” said Easterbrook.

While the events have changed over the ten years that Community Day has been held at the University, one thing about the event has always been consistent.

Everything is free.  In an economy where many families have to watch every penny they spend, families who attend Community Day don’t have to worry about any fees.

“Even as it’s gotten bigger and we have some great things, I’m proud that it’s remained a free event,” said Easterbrook. “Even if the balloon goes up and the weather’s perfect, they’re not paying a thing. In this day and age of four dollars a gallon for gas and ten dollars for a movie, where can you bring a family of four or more, occupy them for three to four hours and not have to pay money?”