A little-known holiday was celebrated this past weekend in Downtown Binghamton. There was no parade and no shirts were made in honor of its coming, but Seminary Avenue was the place to be on Saturday.
The aptly named Seminary Day takes place, unsurprisingly, on sleepy Seminary Avenue. Once a semester, when the stars align, preparations are made, and a virgin is sacrificed in the Sun God’s name. Though not a block party this year due to permit problems, the cozy lawn between 13 & 17 Seminary proved a suitable place for a celebration in the sun.
Nirchi’s kept the pizza coming and Moe’s provided mounds of Mexican food to a number of hungry mouths. Crowds of fun and interesting people kept things exciting with good conversation and by throwing unsuspecting victims into the celebration’s modest pool. People even blew bubbles while the drinks were flowing. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a fine Saturday.
Now I know it looks like I’m simply writing this column to brag about my weekend debauchery, but I assure you that there’s a bigger picture here. I’m sure most of us are accustomed to nights spent on State Street sweatily dancing in the dim of bar lights to the same Taylor Swift song from the night before. Sure it’s a living, but it lacks a certain charm that some of its alternatives have and, as the weather gets nicer, such pleasant days shouldn’t be squandered.
It’s never easy to host a party, especially a block party. I have to commend the ragtag group which made Seminary Day possible. The rewards were well worth the effort, though. I’m sure what comes to most people’s minds when they hear of a bunch of college students throwing a block party is a large amount of alcohol and beer pong tables as far as the eye can see, but I want to argue that it’s something much more than that.
Seminary Day provides more to residents than just an excuse to drink and lounge outside. It gives the people of Seminary Avenue and the surrounding area a chance to get together and get to know each other. It’s what creates a much needed sense of community which can survive even after our college careers end.
Tossing around a Frisbee, sharing conversation while enjoying great food and even hula hooping create bonds seldom made on the dance floor of a bar. In fact, it’s events like Seminary Day that make our downtown detours more exciting when we run into people we know. We get together and drink not just for the sake of drinking, but to toss a little oil in the gears as we awkwardly attempt to socialize.
College can be a lonely place if you don’t feel like part of a community. We normally don’t take advantage of the one literally right outside our doors: our neighborhood. Without RAs to push us to get to know each other, it can be hard to reach out to those around us once we move out on our own.
Events like Seminary Day give us an excuse to get off our asses and hang out like normal people, and I’d hate to have such an event die due to apathy. So future inhabitants of Seminary Avenue: keep the tradition alive. And even if you don’t end up living there, take the time to check it out and host events like it in your area.