In 1889, a piece of Manhattan land became Aggieville. On Sept. 20, Aggieville celebrated its 125th anniversary with an all-day birthday party.
The planning for the event had been going on since January, according to co-chair of the Aggieville 125 committee Leah Hyman. Hyman is the co-owner of Varsity Donuts and holds a place on the Aggieville Business Association Board.
“It was definitely a lot of work putting together an event that was so diverse and had so many different things going on, but … there were so many people who chimed in to help us out and were just super supportive it ended up being just a ton of fun,” Hyman said. “Just a really great day for Aggieville.”
The event included a children’s carnival, street performers, a maker faire (a show that highlights inventions and innovative ideas) and performances on a stage set up in front of Varney’s.
“I think the maker faire was my favorite part,” Hyman said. “It was just a really great of variety of makers and just creative people spending the day down here. It was good for the whole family, which was really important to us.”
By making the event family-friendly, the festival was inclusive of many more Manhattan citizens. It contrasted some of Aggieville’s other large events throughout the year.
“Today, we expected a family-friendly version of the things we’ve seen in Aggieville from Fake Patty’s Day to all the other events that happen throughout (Aggieville),” Saro Korso, Sky Parade performer, said. “It was a big celebration. Lots of fun, lots of kids, all the maker faire people were very fantastic and all of that brought in a lot of fun. Everyone was really excited, it was a lot bigger than we thought.”
One of Korso’s fellow performers, Dot the Mime, cannot speak as a mime, so Korso interpreted for her as she acted out her thoughts.
“Dot the Mime’s favorite part is actually just the food,” Korso said. “The donuts and the mac and cheese grilled cheese. The Varsity Truck has been very lovely to us.”
The Sky Parade is a trio of performers who perform magic, juggling and the art of miming. The three members include Sora Korso, also called Korso the Curious, Dot the Mime and The Juggling Dingus. The trio each showed off their particular skill set as they performed throughout the day.
“Well, today I was doing some magic on the stage,” Korso said. “I did a show earlier and then I roam about during the rest of the events, doing street shows where I set up. It’s a quick 10, maybe 15-minute show. That way everyone can go about enjoying the rest of their day … it’s a nice spontaneous theater experience.”
Their crowds included a variety of people. In addition to juggling, The Juggling Dingus did contortion in his show, while Dot the Mime spent a portion of her night making balloons for children and entertaining families. Manhattan mother Abby Clark brought her family out for the all-age festival.
“It was very family friendly,” Clark said. “It was a shame that it rained. The best part was the kids area with the bouncy house and the face painting, just kids activities.”
Rain began in the evening and caused a few of the vendor tents, as well as the vintage car show, to leave early.
“The crowds have been great and everything’s been fantastic, but actually when I went to do my second stage show at 4:30 p.m., right as I stepped on stage I said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to try and get this done before the rain,’ and as I uttered those words, the downpour kicked in from zero to 60 (mph),” Korso said.
However, the rain did not last long and events went on as scheduled.
“The rain kind of brought us indoors for a little bit, but we are here to enjoy the rest of the festival,” Korso said.
Hyman said she was not let down in her hopes for the event, in part because it was forecasted to be raining for a large portion of the day.
“It was great,” Hyman said. “It was better than I thought it would (be). Lots of people came down to enjoy the day. We ended up having great weather, even though the forecast had said otherwise – that’s just Kansas. So yeah, it ended up being a really great day and we are just super happy with how everything turned out.”
As the sun set in Aggieville, the band continued to play as families and college students danced in the streets. Finally, as the evening was drawing to a close, the crowd joined together to sing happy birthday to Aggieville and share a large Aggieville birthday cake made out of Varsity donuts.