Photos by: Sterling College Marketing
By: Cathryn Cavazos
The morning of Saturday, Sept. 16 started off with a few clouds, but the main street of Sterling was nevertheless packed with smiling kids, vendors quickly setting up shop on the sidewalk, and an abundance of coffee-fueled college athletes.
Warrior Fest is an event held in the fall of each year that invites the athletes of Sterling College, as well as several community members, downtown in an effort to build community throughout Sterling. There are several different types of activities such as bounce-houses, shopping at different vendors, game stations lead by athletic teams, and eating bar-be-que. Pete Manely, director of the athletic training program, thinks that it’s a “great deal” for both the town and the College.
“I think that it’s as good for the College as it is for the community…the gains are more people knowing who these students are. When they have helmets on, you can’t see their face. They’re so far away on a soccer field; all you know them as is number 12.”
One way that people got to know the athletes was that football players were signing autographs on team pictures or whatever else people brought and talked with them. Other teams, such as the baseball team, helped kids with their throws, and the softball players painted faces.
To prepare for the event, Manely explained that the Sterling City Chamber of Commerce and the athletic department get together and decide things such as how many people will be down there and what each athletic team will be doing or selling, “whether they’re throwing a baseball [and trying] to get their fastest pitch on the radar gun or doing Putt-Putt golf.” Then, the stations are mapped out and the times are given to each group. Manely said that “there is a lot of planning that goes into this, and I know the Chamber of Commerce puts in a lot of time.”
Manely said that it’s not really about a “money-making venture…they’re out there supporting their college and…their team. It’s what makes Sterling so great. It just ties that community in that we always talk about when we’re recruiting kids, and…we really do it at Warrior Fest.”