Eastern Kentucky University’s annual City Fest kicked off Friday afternoon at Keen Johnson Plaza. The event gave local businesses a chance to connect with college students on campus and advertise themselves in a hands-on way. 

Many vendors brought free samples, merchandise, or other items to hand out to students. Others allowed students to enter into raffles for larger prizes. 

“It’s kind of funny that they’d have an event on a Friday but they have a better turnout than I expected. Everyone goes home on the weekend,” said Rowan Harvey, 20, public health major from Berea. 

Many well known local businesses, like Waxing the City, Apollo’s Pizza and Golden Corral have attended City Fest with treats and coupons to give to students. Free Kona Ice cups were also given to students. 

Southern Mane, a salon and boutique, raffled off a bundle of hair accessories and products. 

Charlie Sowers and her daughter, the owners of Apparitions Vintage Village in downtown Richmond tabled at City Fest for the first time. 

“We really wanted to, I guess, make people aware of our business and what we provide for them,” said Sowers. “We want to bring awareness to downtown because downtown is really the heart of our city.” 

Sowers hopes City Fest will bring more traffic to the store after its recent renovation. The booth showcased the handmade candles and soap sold at Apparitions along with flyers students could use for a discount in the store. 

Cheryl Macomber, a violin maker who runs a full service string shop, also tabled at City Fest for the first time this semester. After taking an apprenticeship, Macomber has made violins for 21 years. Macomber hopes to be more involved with the campus community in the future. 

“I would love to hook up with the orchestra at EKU,” said Macomber. 

Her booth showcased some of the instruments she’s made, including an intricately decorated harp. 

This year’s City Fest combined with the Maroon Platoon pep rally to celebrate the EKU football team’s home opener on Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium. The pep rally included  a performance by EKU’s cheerleading team.

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