Sydney Clark
Staff Writer

Students had the opportunity to meet with local businesses, organizations, and nonprofits Thursday, September 12 at ComMUnity Fest. Vendors set up inside and outside of the Student Memorial Center (SMC) and came prepared for interested students, faculty, and staff by providing free samples, coupons, and pamphlets.

ComMUnity Fest allows students, especially freshmen, to see what businesses are about throughout the Millersville and Lancaster region.

According to Millersville University’s website, this event is the only time “community partners are given the opportunity to directly market their products and services to students on MU’s campus at an organized event this large.” This Millersville event provides a convenient way to talk to representatives of these companies.

Millersville University’s 2019 ComMUnity Fest was hosted by the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and PSECU.

Set up outside were Lancaster Cupcake, SoBol, and Root. All three of these Lancaster-based businesses were offering free samples from items off of their menus. SoBol also had a prize wheel that could be spun in order to win free acai bowls, coupons, and stickers.

Root is a vegan restaurant and bar in downtown Lancaster. The owner, Rob Garpstas, opened his restaurant to “provide patrons with their favorite foods using seasonal, locally sourced produce.” Students were lined up to get a chance to try these homemade dishes, including veggie chili tacos and bruschetta-like bread.

Kate Bowden, a server at Root, also helped Garpstas with the set up. She helped him get the food plated and served to waiting customers. Root experienced ComMUnity Fest for the first time this year. “It’s been awesome. We’ve had great feedback from everyone coming up and trying things. Everyone seems to be enjoying everything all around,” Bowden said.

She also mentioned that it’s a good event to have on campus and “as far as we’ve seen, it’s been amazing.” Between the indoor and outdoor vendors, there were many businesses and organizations that took part in ComMUnity Fest.

The hot weather and intense humidity made for an uncomfortable afternoon. Regardless of the weather, Root agreed that ComMUnity Fest was something that they would be interested in doing again. Garpstas noted that due to the unpredictable weather, he would prefer being located inside.

Vendors also had stands set up in the multipurpose room located in the SMC. The fast food ranged from Burger King, to Jersey Mike’s Subs. There was also familiar companies advertising their brand, like the Girl Scouts and Regal.

Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre had representatives talking about what their shows are like. They explained purchasing a ticket would include dinner and a live performance, pricing based on the day of the week. With a valid Millersville student ID, students can get dinner and see the show for only $25, compared to the almost $70 priced tickets.

ComMUnity Fest didn’t just feature vendors that were restaurant related, businesses like Lancaster Youth Professionals, Nook Sports, Tanger Outlets, GIANT,  Crunch Fitness, and the Lancaster Barnstormers also took part in the event. These businesses provided students with entail on local places to visit other than restaurants and fast food establishments.

After seeing the different restaurant options in Lancaster, I’m looking forward to trying more dishes at Root. Their seasonal menu assures that no matter how often you visit, something different can be tried every time.