Chatter, laughter and appetizing smells filled the air at the California Baptist University Homecoming Block Party, an event featuring live entertainment, interactive academic booths and a community marketplace. Students, faculty and alumni, as well as members of the Riverside community and guests visiting the area, attended the Block Party Nov. 8.
During the Block Party, students and faculty from a variety of schools and departments on campus hosted tents filled with events and prizes, including a film-watching tent with chairs and candy by the School of Behavioral Science and a bridge-building contest put on by the School of Engineering. Students from the College of Architecture, Visual Arts and Design also offered visitors an opportunity to win or buy screen printed T-shirts made right before their eyes.
“CAVAD purchased a silk screen device at the beginning of this semester,” said Adam Jaynes, junior graphic design major. “Though the device was big and bulky, it was fun to get it outside for the Homecoming fair. Overall, the fair was a lot of work, but it was well worth it to see how excited everyone was to order a specially made shirt made on the spot.”
More than simply catering to students on campus, the Block Party provided entertainment for audiences of all ages. Performances by university choirs ran throughout the afternoon and younger attendees were treated to inflatable attractions, as well as a pony ride and petting zoo. There were also a number of food trucks, with offerings ranging from gourmet meals to kettle corn and oversized smoothies.
Perhaps one of the most notable events featured at the Block Party was the Homecoming Marketplace, a space devoted to giving home-based businesses and humanitarian organizations a place to sell goods and communicate their causes to members of the community. Organizations ranging from Krochet Kids International to local beekeepers selling their seasonal honey were present, offering their wares to anyone at Homecoming.
“I bought a bag from a business called Handmade By Charity with little giraffes on it that I really loved,” said Mollie Grier, a 2014 CBU graduate. “Seeing a place that supports fair trade and small businesses at my alma mater is great, especially because its something I have a lot of interest in personally.”
While the Block Party was only one part of the greater Homecoming Weekend, those who attended the event recognized the real power of community created through hosting an event that members of the past and present CBU family could attend.
Chelsie Bell, a CBU alumna, said the Block Party was the main opportunity she had to reach out to friends she had not seen since graduation, as well as a chance to see how far CBU has come even in the short time since she graduated.
“I had so much fun spending the weekend with people who graduated with me and came back for homecoming, too,” Bell said. “All the changes that have happened since I left are amazing, but spending the weekend with friends celebrating at CBU was definitely the most important thing.”