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Published December 6th, 2023
SMC holds Winter Fest to kick off the holidays
SMC students try their hand at ice skating during the Dec. 1 Winter Fest. Photo Vera Kochan

Saint Mary's College held their first, and hopefully annual, Winter Fest on the campus's Chapel Lawn. Sponsored by the board of trustees, the Dec. 1 event allowed students the chance to experience some holiday fun before finals.
SMC Assistant Director of Residential Experience Fiona Corner and her committee planned a multi-faceted evening that had something for everybody. The long line at the Coffee Cart was proof enough that the chill in the air needed thawing; T-shirts with the Winter Fest logo were given away to the first 90 takers; and craft tables were set up for students to either decorate stockings, make do-it-yourself snow globes, or ornaments.
CILSA (Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action) sponsored the Giving Tree booth for anyone wishing to make donations, and the Petting Zoo offered students the chance to climb into an enclosed area and cuddle with goats, rabbits, pigs, chickens and a llama.
Besides food trucks and popcorn, there were booths that spoke to the sweet tooth that no holiday celebration should be without. Cookie decorating offered immediate gratification, while The Candy Bar (where one could scoop chocolate and other treats into a small-sized popcorn container) was perfect for those who like their candy to-go.
A professional photo booth gave students the opportunity to pose alone, or with friends, for a picture while wearing an assortment of winter-themed props in front of a backdrop of seasonal images.
The Areté Singers Network, dressed in Victorian garb, sang holiday songs in the midst of two Christmas trees that lit up in gold promptly at 5 p.m. to exclamations of delight from the crowd.
But, the "piece de resistance" (say it with a French accent) at Winter Fest was the ice skating rink set up directly in front of the Chapel. Ice skates were provided, and nearly half of the students who laced them on couldn't skate, but gave it the old college try. Many hugged the perimeter fence as friends who could skate acted as coaches with encouraging words and steadying hands to catch their buddies should they lose balance. A few couldn't slow down and crashed into the barriers, and there were those whose bottoms hit the ice after failed attempts to stay upright.
SMC's Winter Fest did so much more than give the students a break from their studies. It allowed them to be kids again, even if in their case it wasn't all that long ago.

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