Free food, life-size whack-a-mole, a chili festival and more. If you would think you can’t find all these in one place, you’d be wrong. Lafayette Day, happening this weekend, is where you can find them.
The 12th annual Lafayette Day is the welcome back events of the year for Lafayette students in the Easton community, and aims to offer incentives for Lafayette students to get acclimated to downtown Easton and learn all it has to offer.
A “volunteer-driven, grass root program,” according to the program manager Kim Kmetz, the Easton Main Street Initiative organizes the endeavor. Aside from Lafayette Day, the program oversees the Easton farmer’s market, the Easton Public Market, Bacon Fest, and more.
Their current goal according to Kmetz is to improve the day time economy through establishing better systems for “traffic, parking, safety and security and infrastructure such as high-speed Wi-fi” in the Easton area in order to bring more businesses and developers to the Easton community in the future.
Lafayette Day is expecting a jump in the number of students downtown this Saturday, according to Kmetz.
“There should be more students coming down since you guys just had the largest freshman class ever…but at the same time, I just hope the hurricane [Florence] doesn’t get to us by then.”
“The idea of the Lafayette Day came from a volunteer at the time who asked us why we won’t see more students downtown…wouldn’t it be great if we throw out our arms to welcome them back every year?” Kmetz added. “We want students and faculty to feel like we really want them here.”
The Lafayette Day used to be in Center Square, but since the farmers market has grown so big, there isn’t enough space for all the activities anymore. Now the events are spread out throughout town, the Chili Festival in the Public Market, the Festival of the Arts by the river and more,” Kmetz said. Center Square will still be serving as home base, despite the separate locations of events.
A shuttle service will run from 10:30 a.m to 4:00 p.m from Williams Center for the Arts to Center Square, whereas the Lafayette Day itself is from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. Students will have the opportunity to arrive early to Center Square Easton and register.
There will be the “stamp the spot” contest, wherein 37 different businesses in Easton will be expecting students on Saturday, and upon entry, they will sign on the card that is given to you during registration. With a certain amount of stamps, you will be entered to win a prize donated by the businesses ranging from coupons to gift cards.
Kmetz emphasized on a new event in center square this year: a life size whack a mole game. One person is whacking with a hammer, six others hiding around the person and try to steal apples from the middle —- all in a giant inflatable you won’t be able to miss.
Crayola’s mascot, Tip, will be standing in for Mayor during the day since he will not be able to make the event. There will also be a coloring booth out on the street for the community to use.
To Kmetz, the most exciting event of the day is the Spot on the Leopard game. A small leopard will be hidden in one of the stores in Easton, if someone finds the leopard during the day, they will be awarded a $50 gift card to Stoke Pizza as well as two tickets to the state theater for an upcoming show.
“What we’ve seen over the years, [is] if you come here as a first-year student, you get used to downtown and what they have to offer, you will come back and make it a regular habit. When I first started the job 12 years ago, you rarely see anyone here, but now I drive home at night, I see groups of students coming down,” Kmetz added, “It also helps the community at large, for those of us who live here to feel more connected.”