AutumnFest brings community, student body together

With the start of autumn comes the start of everyone’s favorite fall festivities. Though these celebrations can sometimes appear to be trite, the right events can make seemingly trite activities like pumpkin decorating feel brand new. Geneseo’s fourth annual AutumnFest did just that on Saturday Sept. 26, as community members and college students came together on Main Street to take part in the seasonal merriments.

AutumnFest had a myriad of fun activities to offer to community members this year. There were numerous raffles to participate in, a photo booth to goof around in and even horse drawn carriages to ride in. If that weren’t enough, there were plenty of booths filled with mouth-watering food options to satisfy one’s appetite—because everyone wants to take some ice cream and watch any one of the 11 scheduled live entertainment acts. There were showings from student organizations like Geneseo Bhangra and songs performed by local band Soft Cough.

“[AutumnFest] is a great event. Kurt [Cylke] worked really hard on it and it’s just been so great because we’ve got restaurants from all over the county coming here and showing off their food and businesses,” Livingston County economic development intern junior Molly Downey said. “At the same time, we’ve got students coming and volunteering at it as well as community members working on it.”

Cylke is the chair of Geneseo’s sociology department and is on the board of trustees for the Association for the Preservation of Geneseo. APOG sponsored the second-annual WingFest, where eight local restaurants competed this year to see who could make the best wings. Unlike last year, however, WingFest was scheduled to be on Center Street the same day as AutumnFest, as opposed to being in Village Park.

“[AutumnFest and WingFest] definitely brought large crowds and before the event, we were a little worried about space just because there was so much going on,” Livingston County development corporation intern junior Caroline Wilson said. “But it ended up working out really well and it created a great atmosphere.”

The implementation of WingFest wasn’t the only new activity at Autumnfest, however. This year’s AutumnFest featured the Great Pumpkin Stroll, an event where participants searched numerous pumpkins for stamps in order to be entered in a raffle that could win them anything from a gift card to over $300 in prizes from Main Street businesses.    

“[The Great Pumpkin Stroll] was a big thing that was new this year and it turned out to be very successful,” Wilson said. “We had over 150 people participating … and it really got people into the businesses and it got them to explore new ideas they otherwise wouldn’t have seen.”

The Great Pumpkin Stroll’s accompanying event—the Great Pumpkin Roll—maintained its status as the fan favorite of community members. At this activity, participants could push pumpkins down Bank Street as fast or as hard as they would like. The first people who hit the hay bales at the end of the street won gift cards and prizes from Main Street businesses.   

“All in all, AutumnFest went really well,” Wilson said. “I’m excited to see how it continues to grow in the future.”