Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Street Fest in review

​​On Wednesday, Oct. 13, students opened their mailbox to find three crisp five-dollar Allie-B-Bucks. These food vouchers were then used by students at the Street Fest that Friday, put on as part of President Byerly’s inaugural celebrations. Food trucks adorned College Street as students and visiting Family Weekend attendees purchased dinner. 

The Street Fest, planned by the Inauguration Committee, took great efforts to involve the community. As committee member Susannah Ottaway explains, “President Byerly asked us to plan an event that would bring the community together, acknowledging that the need for connecting communities is particularly acute this year because of how challenging things have been since Spring 2020.”

With Family Weekend happening at the same time as the Inauguration, COVID-19 safety played a large role in inspiring the outdoor event.  “We wanted to have as many things outside as possible, because of concerns over COVID, and in recognition of people’s different levels of comfort with indoor events,” said Ottawa. Family Weekend did not require visitors to show proof of vaccination, though a temporary mask mandate was put into place from 8 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 15, until 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 17, for all indoor public spaces on campus. However, safety wasn’t the sole concern, as Carleton hoped to support local vendors in the aftermath of COVID-19. 

“Especially because the COVID Pandemic has been so hard on local businesses, we wanted to make sure that Carleton’s spending on the inauguration was also an investment in local food venues whenever possible, so the key staff members running the inauguration asked Northfield and other area vendors to participate,” Ottaway added. 

The Street Fest also overlapped with Carleton’s annual Undergraduate Research and Internship Symposium, held in the Weitz. The location of the event was a success, as Ottoway marks, “We were really delighted to hear that attendance at that event was higher than it has ever been.” However, the overlap meant that many student presenters had to wait until the last hour of the fair to buy dinner, which quickly presented itself as an issue. “Anyone who arrived at 6 or later would have had to wait [about] an hour for any of the main places,” explained  Carl Marvin ‘22. The food trucks open from 4pm to 7pm, were many students’ only dinner option, as both LDC and Burton dining halls were closed for the event. “It definitely was hard as a student-athlete, because we had no option but to arrive at around 6,” said Marvin. “I don’t think that was specific to being an athlete. There are so many busy people on campus who couldn’t make it till later.”

Carleton tried to accommodate the crowds, but was restricted by city guidelines. “We kept the food trucks at the venue as long as the Northfield police allowed us to hold the road blocked off, so that we could try to make sure that students who were presenting would still be able to access the food trucks,” said Ottaway. 

In addition to time constraints, students found themselves limited to the choices available. “I was underwhelmed by the absence of options that could accommodate special dietary needs,” noted Zoe Bonnel ‘24. “As a vegan, I had difficulty finding any truck selling food specifically designated as plant-based. Pizza, burgers, hotdogs, BBQ, and ice cream seemed to dominate the food scene, and while these are the perfect handheld meals for most people, I was disappointed by the lack of thought that went into scoping out a food truck that could provide one or two vegan options.”

“It was a little disappointing that we could only get a finite amount of food from the food trucks,” said Marvin.  “These food trucks were replacing our meal swipes, which are buffet style so it is unfortunate for people who truly need to eat a lot of calories to be limited to $15 Byerly bucks.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *