Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grape Harvest Festival was a Sweet Success

The temperature reached a scorching 100 degrees, but that did not stop a crowd of more than 700 from attending Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) 11th Annual Grape Harvest Festival.  The festival provided fun for all ages and excitement.

The festival kicked off with the First Lady Run/Walk-a-Thon.  Nearly 100 runners and walkers joined Judy Ammons, the first lady of FAMU.  The first lady of Tallahassee Community College, Sara Murdaugh, also joined Ammons as well as the FAMU men’s and women’s track and field and cross-country teams.

“I want to thank all of you for joining me,” Ammons said.  “What a great way to start the Festival.”

The festival had an assortment of fun-filled activities for both young and old. Some of the events included the much anticipated hula hoop contest; the ever so precise grape throwing game; a wine-tasting session featuring FAMU’s own and Florida commercial wineries; a water slide that kept the young cool and happy; and the highlight of the festival, the good old-fashioned grape stomping contest, which had more than 20 teams participating.

This year, the festival featured a health fair with more than 20 Tallahassee community health care organizations such as UnitedHealth Care, the Leon County Health Department, Neighborhood Health Services and 211 Big Bend.  FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was on hand providing participants with blood pressure checks and glucose screenings.

Some of the health care participants thought the festival was really great.

“This is my first time here,” said Rebecca Whitehead, with the 211 Big Bend.  “I will come back next year.”

Her co-worker echoed her comments.

“It [festival] is great and a lot of fun,” said Katherine Melo.  “It has a lot of exciting things to see and do.”

FAMU students took part in the festival by either volunteering, enjoying in the festivities or performing.  The incomparable Marching “100” took center stage by keeping the attendees excited and dancing.

A student volunteer Bianca Ainn, a pharmacy major from Snellville, Ga., said the festival was a great community event.

“This is a great way to get the community together,” said Ainn.  “The festival has some fun things for all ages.”

Katie Melo, a resident of Tallahassee, best summed up the festival while smiling from ear to ear.

“Oh my God, this is awesome,” said Katie Mayo, who participated in the grape stomping contest.  I have never been here before but this is really cool.  I am really impressed.  I will definitely be back here next year.”

Next year’s festival is scheduled for August 25, 2012.

The Annual FAMU Grape Harvest Festival is a community event being sponsored by FAMU and coordinated through its Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research.

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