October 9, 2013

Big Red Ambition: #22 Attend the Apple Festival on the Commons

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I love apples. However, it seems like the things I like are usually things other people think are weird (re: the SAT writing section and Doctor Who), so it makes me really happy that Ithaca spends an entire weekend celebrating my favorite fruit — and that The Cornell Daily Sun dedicates a whole spot on the 161 list to it.

I went to Apple Fest last Friday with a group of friends. It was my second time going, but I was still excited to see the entire Ithaca community gather together and eat lots of apple-related treats. Unfortunately — unpopular opinion time — it was not the perfect apple fantasyland that I originally envisioned.

When I went my freshman year, the festival encompassed the Commons. Having everyone and all of the booths in the same immediate space created an amazing sense of community and togetherness — something I thought was definitely lacking this time around.

This year, Apple Fest was spread on various side streets around the area. I know this is because of the construction, but it really took away the community aspect for me. While it is about the apples, it is also about seeing Cornell students, Ithaca College students and native Ithacans interacting and enjoying autumn — and maybe awkwardly running into professors, which I always hope for. Instead, people seemed to stick to themselves and the people they came with. When everyone was on the commons, people had no choice but to hang out with other groups!

Not to get overly sentimental, but this communal issue reminded me a lot of Cornell. Sometimes I feel like the student body is really disconnected from each other, since there are so many of us and so much is going on. To be honest, I’m not sure how to fix this disconnect, but it’s important that we recognize it and place more emphasis on community.

Also, doesn’t the name APPLE Fest imply that everything has to do with apples? Something I noticed — and saw all over social media — is that there were a ton of booths that had nothing to do with apples. I understand that it is a fall celebration and there are many aspects that should be represented, but I feel like the majority should have been about apples; it seemed a little awkward.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t there for too long. I didn’t even reach the area with the cider donuts when the monsoon took over… okay, maybe not a monsoon, but still. Classic Ithaca, am I right? When my friends and I finally made it back to my car after essentially swimming up the street, it looked like we had just jumped out of Cayuga Lake. After we begrudgingly decided not to drive through Apple Fest and stop at all of the booths (though you have to admit, it would have been fun), we decided to go to Dunkin’ Donuts and Chipotle — arguably my two favorite places in Ithaca besides my bed.

So my second check mark for #22 is a bittersweet one; I didn’t get the community I wanted, but I drank some delicious apple cider and spent a very nice — and admittedly very rainy — afternoon with great friends. And that’s what Cornell is all about, isn’t it? You might not get the most unified community, but at least there are good drinks and great friends!

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