The City of Binghamton almost blocked the party, but Seminary celebrations went on in full swing anyway on Saturday.
Seminary Day is a semi-annual block party, normally hosted on a blocked-off Seminary Avenue during the fall and spring semesters.
This year’s Seminary Day, which featured free food, a zoo on wheels and performances from Binghamton musical groups, was celebrated as a lawn party at 13 Seminary Ave. instead because of Binghamton’s block party permit qualifications
“This year is different from previous years because the street will not be closed off. Apparently you aren’t allowed to invite friends and family to a block party so [the City of Binghamton] wanted us to get an event permit,” Ryan Delaney, event coordinator for the Seminary Student Association (SSA) and a senior majoring in cinema, wrote in an email. “This required us to get $2,000,000 in liability insurance for the day, unfortunately they didn’t tell us this early enough in the process and we were unable to attain the insurance.”
However, the name change from “block party” to “lawn party” did not keep attendees from enjoying the celebration’s usual activities.
Party-goers tossed footballs, played pong and participated in “Nail Stump,” a drinking game involving hammering nails into a tree stump.
“You’re supposed to drink every time somebody misses but we’re just drinking all the time anyway,” said Doug Mowery, a student at SUNY Cobleskill.
The Binghamton Student Neighborhood Association Project provided free food from Moe’s Southwest Grill and Nirchi’s Pizza.
Performances included a cappella groups, the student band DreamReel and a student DJ. The show ran smoothly until the speakers blew out halfway through the party, making it more difficult for musicians like Alex Decker, the president of the a cappella group Koinonia, to perform.
“[To sing without the microphones] was difficult to say the least. [It] just sounded like our sound was dissipating; we couldn’t really hear each other and the soloists weren’t loud,” said Decker, a sophomore majoring in biology. “But we all really had fun out there so I can’t complain.”
Mike Shapiro, lead guitarist and singer for the student band DreamReel, played his music from the smaller amps he brought with him for the gig.
“We were able to get a signal through our guitar and base amps, so we just used them,” said Shapiro, a junior majoring in electrical engineering. “It was a bit tough because we were not able to hear each other, but I felt like because we knew the music so well that we were able to overcome it.”
In addition to the performances and free food, there was an appearance by the ZooMobile, a travelling Zoo that featured a baby fox, a snake, a bearded dragon and cockroaches.
“The main idea of this was to get the community and the students involved and just have a nice day outside,” said Mike Raguso, member of the SSA and a graduate student studying industrial and systems engineering. “I want people to be more comfortable with coming downtown [and not be] so scared of locals — cause people are, [locals are] actually really nice.”
People from around the area stopped by to take part in the event.
“I literally didn’t even know it was supposed to happen. I was just walking my dog around Murray Street, then I hear music bumping, I see mad people and I thought, ‘all right, whatever,” said Sam Kozhebrodsky, a junior majoring in art history. “This is awesome, it’s what I would think of when I think of college; college partying [and] nice weather.”
Though Seminary Day had its fair share of drinking, with many guests bringing their own alcohol, some students enjoyed the day sober.
“I don’t drink, but I’ve been meandering the party playing pong, hanging out with a lot of people I know.” said Ahmed Khater, a junior majoring in cinema. “There was a zoo, that was awesome … there were the a cappella performers, an ice cream truck. It was a fun Seminary Day.”