Heller Service Corps. Hosts Annual Fall Fest

By: Christina La Rosa, Staff Writer

Every year, for more than 30 years, the Heller Service Corps has hosted the Furman Fall Fest, a carnival that invites children from areas where it may not be safe to trick-or-treat to spend the day on Furman’s campus. The carnival is complete with bouncy houses, crafts, trick-or-treating, games, face painting and carnival foods. It’s a four hour event that requires intense preparation.

According to Terryl Cronic, the coordinator of the event, planning for Fall Fest begins in January the school year before. She’s been coordinating Fall Fest for three years now and has enjoyed every minute of it. Regardless of how much time goes into turning the chaos into a smoothly running event, she says it’s worth it to see the
smiles on the children’s faces.

Fall Fest hosts a total of six elementary schools from surrounding areas, some of which send nearly sixty-five
children. All of the children are paired with buddies that
guide them through the day. It’s a high impact, fun filled day, and is a completely unique experience for the children. One little girl named Kiara even described it as the “best day ever!” It’s also an incredibly rewarding experience for the people who work Fall Fest. The boundless enthusiasm of the children can’t help but rub off on the buddies who guide them.

As Cronic described it, “The children that we serve
do not get poured into often. They are constantly limited in resources, attention, and fun opportunities so it’s a blast to knock down those boundaries and give them everything we can.”

The event is not an easy stunt to pull off. It’s a massive
undertaking and there are bound to be some setbacks. One such problem arose when the children were transported to the Furman campus. One of the buses had mechanical issues and was stuck at the elementary school. The children arrived almost an hour late. Cronic explains that the transportation issue is something they are working to streamline, as the current system cannot accommodate the growing number of children. She also mentioned that they ran out of candy and are working to find a better way meet the needs of all of the children. Cronic considers organization as one of her strong suits, which helped run the day smoothly, and the effort she and the other organizers put into such a monumental undertaking is admirable.
The Fall Fest has been brightening the days of both Furman students and Greenville children alike for decades. It’s a tradition that remains an integral part
of Furman. It connects us with our community and, as
Cronic puts it, allows Furman students to “embrace their
inner child.”

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