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Harvest Fest and Spring Fling traditions have roots in Evangel’s earliest years

April 13, 2013 | Ashli O'Connell

Tradition. It’s as much a part of college life as all-night study sessions, cafeteria food and finals week.

Visit any university campus in the United States and you will find time-honored traditions that build community, connect current students with generations of alumni, and generate campus pride.

At Evangel, one of the beloved campus life traditions that finds its roots in the pioneer classes of Evangel is a student-produced variety show held each semester, known as Harvest Fest in the fall and Spring Fling in the spring.

In the earliest years of Evangel history, the event was called Campus Classics and featured an all-campus talent show tied to Homecoming (which was held in early spring because the only varsity sport at the time was basketball). As Homecoming shifted to the fall in the 1960s, the spring event became known as Spinsters’ Spree and adopted the tradition of girls asking guys, which is still a popular part of Spring Fling each year. Harvest Fest, in turn, is guys’ choice.

“Campus Classics was usually built around a theme and included various musical acts, and some skits and the Spinsters Spree programs were usually less tightly organized and more lighthearted,” says Evangel’s archivist, Shirley Shedd, who remembers taking her now-husband Glenroy Shedd to Campus Classics in 1962.

Spring Fling CoupleThe Shedds later married and have stayed closely involved with Evangel throughout their married life (Shirley Shedd was a longtime professor and chair of the Communication Department prior to retiring in 2006 and becoming the archivist for the University).  She says there are a number of Evangel couples through the years who had their first date at a Spinster’s Spree and are now married.

Spring Fling and Harvest Fest as they are held today are a combination of popular elements from the past coupled with new features made possible by the creativity and technology advances that mark today’s generation of students.

It’s hard to do justice to a description of Spring Fling and Harvest Fest. Variety show … comedy night … music concert … costume party. Perhaps the best way to encapsulate all that Spring Fling and Harvest Fest are would simply be to call them THE social event of each semester.

Both events are entirely student-written and student-produced. Activities Board, a student organization that plans campus life events, oversees every element. The students write scripts, shoot videos, hold band auditions and handle all logistics for the shows.

“Harvest Fest and Spring Fling are two of the largest, most anticipated student events of the year,” says Student Activities Director Christy Rowden. “Activities Board chooses a theme each semester, and students come dressed in accordance with that theme. Elements of the show are all theme-related or Evangel-related, so there is something for everyone.”

Creativity abounds in every element. From the clever ways that students ask someone to be their date to the costume choices – it’s clear that much thought goes into every part of the night. “Harvest Fest and Spring Fling are prime examples of what makes Evangel special,” says Rowden. “We celebrate our unique EU culture through inside jokes that allow us to laugh together and students’ diverse talents are showcased and celebrated. They are memories to last a lifetime.”

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