On Oct. 18, Binghamton’s Student Association Programming Board (SAPB) held its annual Fall Festival, decked with an impressive display of events, giveaways and local businesses.

After being put on a hiatus just a year after its inception due to COVID-19, the event came back in full swing with a tote making stall, free pumpkins, hot and cold apple cider and a variety of animal exhibits. At the center of it all, along the pathway cutting through the center of the Peace Quad, were stalls hosting a plethora of local businesses that specialized in soaps, curated secondhand clothes, jewelry and other knickknacks.

Among these local business owners was Laura Zibbon, owner of “LoveLauraNicole,” who sold clay earrings and hand-decorated glass bottles. Zibbon, a junior majoring in business administration, explained why she thought it was beneficial for events like Fall Fest to amplify small, student-run businesses.

“I think it’s important just to get face-to-face, and actually see who is buying your product,” Zibbon said. “Sometimes it’s a little bit weird just to buy something online [when] you don’t know where it’s coming from or who it’s from, so I definitely feel like I’ve gotten to know some of the students here just from doing stuff face-to-face.”

The event lasted from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and was a place for many students to decompress from mid-semester responsibilities, including Paige Adamo, a junior majoring in history, who attended as a way to relax and connect with the campus community.

“There are so many stalls and events and things to see,” Adamo said. “It’s a great way to get away from it all and just hang out. It’s really cool to see all the local vendors be able to have a chance for exposure, plus the animals are really cute.”

For the first two hours, students were encouraged to walk around and take their pick of free goodies — including sliders, mac and cheese and cozy fall drinks — as well as join other students to chat and pet adorable farm animals. Then, at 7:00 p.m., attendees gathered in front of the screen to watch a showing of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” SAPB Festivals Chair Sherry Huang, a senior majoring in psychology, and Vice Festivals Chair Olivia Ames, shared their satisfaction with the event.

“I did think the event was quite a success,” Ames said. “It definitely felt very rewarding to see everyone have a good time. I especially loved talking to everyone at the [tote] printing station, especially at the end of the day when they all held up their phone lights to help us see. That was very much appreciated.”

The event was, by all markers, a success and saw months of planning come to fruition, according to Hang.

“Our planning began in early summer, which included brainstorming activities and food options,” Huang said. “As we got closer to the semester beginning, meetings were set up with important staff — such as those from Sodexo and Physical Facilities. Weekly meetings between me, my vice chair and the [vice president for programming] were held to make sure everything was in place.”

Fall Fest offered an opportunity for students and peers to gather and enjoy much of what SAPB has to offer, while forging new connections with not only friends but also the local community.

In terms of the future, Huang is optimistic.

“We are hoping to have this continue as a tradition for years to come,” Huang said.