As 15,000 attendees walked through the Pit in 90-degree heat on Sunday holding stuffed rams and corn dogs, they celebrated the start of the school year at the 28th annual FallFest.
FallFest, hosted by the Carolina Union, took place on Sunday from 6:30 to 10 p.m.
From the Student Union to the Pit to Polk Place, the event featured over 40 sponsors, including University departments, corporate sponsors and small businesses. Local and national vendors brought more than $100,000 worth of food and beverage items, and over 5,000 items were distributed, including tote bags, bucket hats and t-shirts.
The celebration is a “fun welcome back to campus” for new and returning students, according to the Carolina Union website.
The event directly followed New Student Convocation, the University's welcome for all first-year and transfer students. For first-year Ava Sharon, the celebration was a distraction from her nervousness about starting classes and sadness over leaving her family. She said that she had been looking forward to FallFest and that the free giveaways were a part of what drew her to it.
“I just feel like in high school, you have to pay for everything and you get very used to always watching your bank account,” she said. “So it's been really fun to come to college and be able to get free t-shirts and free stickers.”