It’s a day that everyone in Slippery Rock looks forward to, and Village Fest just seems to get bigger and bigger every single year. The event gives all the small businesses around the Slippery Rock area a chance to showcase their business right before a big football game that always draws in a ton of people.
This year was the best example of that. The day was nice and cool, which for many involved with the event is always the best possible scenario.
“We’ve had different years with Village Fest where it’s been cold, dreary and rainy and the people just don’t come out, and so the weather has something to do with it,” volunteer coordinator Karen Perry said. “We’ll see a lot more people come out because of the weather.”
The event did see more and more people come out each hour. The streets were flooding with people as they gravitated towards the sights, sounds and smells. Among those was Jessica Dixon, who is the owner of a business called “Colorful Creations.”
Dixon makes handmade children’s accessories. From capes to hair bands, she has people covered. Like many other vendors, Village Fest is a great way to get her company out there and create new relationships with new customers.
“My husband went to Slippery Rock, and we did [Village Fest] pre-pandemic and we loved it. We weren’t able to come last year, but this year it worked in our schedule, and we’re excited to be here,” Dixon said.
Those streets that were filled with people who came out to find out what was going on and to find new stuff to see. Village Fest didn’t disappoint them. The most exciting part for many is supporting local businesses.
“I really like supporting small, local businesses and this is just a really fun way to do that,” SRU student Maison Kairush said. “I love going to farmer’s markets in my hometown…Support local businesses and go to farmer’s markets, heck yeah.”
But in order to make the event come to life, there is a lot of planning beforehand and a lot of work the day of. In order to find that out, you just have to ask Perry, or the Executive Director of Slippery Rock development, Tom McPherson.
“I’ve been coordinating volunteers since about six o’clock this morning. We arrived to an empty parking lot and by 8:30 we had a bunch of activity,” Perry said. “It really is exciting, especially because this morning it was only about 40 degrees, and the students were cold, but the sun is out now, the inflatables are up and the students are engaged.”
McPherson, who spent this year’s Village Fest training others to eventually take over, put a lot into the event and couldn’t be prouder of how it went. But all in all, he’s even more proud of the people who help bring the event together.
“We could not run this event without student volunteers, that’s a matter of fact, and every year, we’re like ‘are we going to get any this year?’” McPherson said. “When we do, they turn out to be great.”