Winterfest has always been one of Concord Academy’s most attended all-school events. From clubs selling snacks and merchandise to the talent show and raffle, this night has always been jam-packed with an array of fun activities. While this event has remained the same for many years, Winterfest 2020 had some noticeable changes.
The biggest change was the destination of the event’s revenue. In previous years, all the profits would have gone to the financial aid budget, helping to support students who might not otherwise be able to pay for CA. This year, however, All-School Council announced that Winterfest earnings would no longer go towards the financial aid budget, citing that the overall money produced was so small that it had a negligible impact on the total budget.
Student leaders felt that the money could be used for other, more productive purposes, such as a donation to a local charity. This change was met with no opposition from the school, as the community was excited to have a positive impact on a charity of their choice. The recipient of this year’s Winterfest revenue was Gaining Ground.
Dean of Students Sally Zimmerli explained in a letter to potential Winterfest donors, Gaining Ground is “a nonprofit organic farm in Concord that donates all of its fresh food to local meal programs and food pantries with the support of volunteers and donors. We felt like this local organization fits perfectly with our goals of equity and sustainability as named in our revised mission statement.”
Another smaller change that occurred was related to what the clubs were able to sell. They no longer had the ability to sell their own merchandise, as All-School Council felt that this tradition was too reminiscent of Club Expo, an event that happens early in the year to allow new students to get to know CA’s clubs and affinity groups. Unlike Winterfest, Club Expo focuses more on individual clubs, including introducing them, gathering new members for them, and enhancing their budgets.
While the club portion of Winterfest had a new purpose, the other two events of the night, the talent show and the senior pieing, went unchanged. While everyone can attend these events, not many people know about the behind the scenes process of setting them up. Collins Billhardt ’20, one of the two Entertainment Co-heads, revealed that the event was fairly simple. To get acts, they “sent out a google form for people to sign up” allowing an equal opportunity for everyone to show their talent.
When asked if any cuts were made or even considered, Collins pointed out that “we happened to have the right amount of people to sign up,” which meant that there was no need to cut any act. To encourage people to sign up, “we worked with [Dean of Students] Sally [Zimmerli] and [Coordinator of Student Activities] Brett [Kelly] to get prizes for the winners,” which ended up being money in the form of gift cards.
Lastly, the senior pieing concludes Winterfest. Collins, being a member of the senior class, commented that “the seniors who wanted to be pied signed up in class meeting, and then from there, it was a bidding process.” The highest bidders splashed their pie-ee in the face with a tin of whipped cream as the rest of the school cheered.
In the end, with Winterfest’s new charitable focus and the redesign of the club portion of the evening, the event was a major success and certainly excited people for next year’s event.