University Heights hosts annual Fall Fest

“People were happy to be back out, and the renewed sense of community was unmistakable.”


Bloom Big Stem Bar displayed their flowers from this glass shelf on the front of their truck. (Photo by Aiden Keenan).

Aiden Keenan, Photo Editor

The Walter Stinson Community Park was filled with more than 2,500 people for the annual University Heights Fall Festival on Oct. 10. More than 50 vendors filled the space; some were candidates for local government, some sold goods or crafts and others were selling snacks and drinks. This is the second “Fall Fest” that the City has hosted; the first since before the pandemic. Headlining the event as musical talent was the 80s cover band “Back 2 The Future.” The Fall 2021 edition of The Mosaic reported that this year’s event featured some returning vendors, but also some new ones.

People walk between booths and children wait in line for the bouncy castle.
(Photo by Aiden Keenan).


Not only were there a variety of vendors, but several activities and pieces of entertainment were scheduled for the kids. Toward the beginning of the event, a circus was held entertaining children with hula hoops, juggling and other amusing acts. Next to the circus were bouncy houses for children to run through. For kids who wanted to get more in touch with their artistic side, several pumpkins were available for them to paint. The raising of the fire station’s ladder truck also entertained patrons.

Firefighters raise the truck ladder over the food trucks.
(Photo by Aiden Keenan).


Among the food and drink options were Barra de Taco, Odd Dog Coffee and others. Many of the vendors had selections of cookies, muffins and other baked goods for visitors to purchase as well.

Odd Dog Coffee recently renovated this old school bus as their new point of sale site.
(Photo by Aiden Keenan).


Mike Cook, communications & civic engagement coordinator for the City, reported his satisfaction with this year’s event. He explained, “I’m thrilled with how Fall Fest went. We had a big crowd, and everyone had a great time.” He continued, “utilizing The Walt for events such as Fall Fest is important. We’re going to do even more of this in the future.”

About a mile away from JCU, the Walter Stinson Community Park (also known as the Walt) is a beautiful place to study, run or just enjoy a beautiful weekend day.
(Photo by Aiden Keenan).


Various John Carroll students also enjoyed their visits. Kendra Keene ‘22 said, “I had a great time at the Fall Fest! It was a short walk from my off-campus apartment and was a nice opportunity to support local small businesses, enjoy some delicious food and drinks and enjoy the last bit of warm sunshine of the season.”


Shannon Callaghan ‘22 agrees. She said, “The park itself is such a nice environment, the vendors were super friendly, and it was a really cool opportunity to get to know some of the community members involved in the local government!” Shannon also shared a bit more info about her favorite vendor, Bloom Big Stem Bar. Emphasizing the variety of people present at Fall Fest, Shannon wrote, “My favorite booth was the flower bar from Bloom Big — the owner was so sweet and she told me about the different types of flowers she had as she put together my bouquet!”

Bloom Big Stem Bar displayed their flowers from this glass shelf on the front of their truck.
(Photo by Aiden Keenan).


It should be noted that Cooper Chicken, the City’s brand ambassador, was on-site to greet residents and enjoy the festival with families. He was having too much fun, however, and was unavailable to comment.


Instead, Mayor Brennan spoke with The Carroll News. He wrote, “Fall Fest was nearly twice the size of the first Fall Fest 2 years ago. People were happy to be back out, and the renewed sense of community was unmistakable. It was great seeing all our neighbors again. So many folks told me how happy they were to see an event of this magnitude in our city, and that they look forward to more.”


Every visitor who spoke with The Carroll News emphasized the great sense of community in University Heights. Though the Fall Fest is a relatively new tradition, the City has full intent to continue this program into the coming years, especially to continue growing that community while returning to pre-pandemic normals.