Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Renaissance Faire comes to Sylvan Snack Bar

Spooky stalls, diverse bugs and tarot readings at Sylvan Snack Bar
Kalana Amarasekara

On Sunday, Oct. 29, the Sylvan Snack Bar hosted a Renaissance Faire at McNamara Hall in the Sylvan Residential Area. The event was one of many held during “Halloweekend,” when spooky music and fancy-dress were all the rage among students.

The Sylvan Snack Bar is a co-operative snack joint that operates on the ground floor of McNamara Hall. It operates Sunday through Thursday between 6:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. and is known for its’ late night calzones. One objective of the Renaissance Faire was to promote the Snack Bar.

“We wanted, obviously, to have people be aware of the Sylvan Snack Bar because our location isn’t the most ideal, so we kind of wanted to get our name out there, and let people know who we  are. We wanted to support our local community – like crafts people as well,” Alyssa Styller, a junior psychology major and co-manager of the Sylvan Snack Bar, said.

Among the vendors at the Faire was Chase Dennie, a sophomore sustainable food and farming major. Dennie sold moccasins that he handmade from leather, which he sources from New York. “[Making moccasins] gives me time to work on my skills, connect with other people and make a bit of money too,” he said.

Senior animation major Cole Senatore displayed his pet bugs at the Faire. He noted that adopting insects is not a common hobby, so he wanted to promote it. One of the bugs he had on display was the Eastern Hercules Beetle, native to North Carolina. Senatore described his pride about his hobby: “Everything comes from my dorm room!”

Another attraction was a tarot reading stall hosted by Ravenna Omran, senior linguistics and classics double major. A tarot reading is a form of fortune-telling that originated in Italy, during the mid-1400s.

“[Tarot reading] is the significance of anything you might wonder, where it’s really just asking a question and then figuring out what you might want to think about,” Omran said. “Tarot is very different for different people – it’s similar to religion in that sense, and faith in many ways…I personally believe that it can be whatever you need it to be.”

Junior English major Charles Townsend was the vendor of “Townsend Crafts and Quills,” a quill-making stall.

“People ask, ‘How did you get into making quill pens?’ and I say that I went down the journaling rabbit-hole, which is absolutely true, and it’s a pleasure to make quill pens and earrings and inkwells and selling crystals,” Townsend said.

“I get a lot of my feathers that I make into quill pens from my friend who owns a few exotic birds. So I’ve been journaling with the quill pen that I’ve made for about a year and a half now, and it’s held up, and so I thought, ‘Well, I always like going to the Farmers’ Market, so I might as well vend at it, so here I am!”

Many students who attended the Faire were in costume, as Halloween was coming up. “[I came here] just for the fun, [and] just to dress up with my friends,” Isha Goyal, freshman biochemistry major, said.

Skye Landau, a co-manager of the Sylvan Snack Bar and junior mathematics major, reflected that the Faire was a success, yet there were certain things that could be improved for any future events. “All of the vendors seemed to be very happy to be working with us, and it seems like they had a successful time, and I think maybe something that would be good is if we sort of start our advertising sooner, and if we had little lead-up stuff to sort of really get more hype-up for it, and also maybe get even more vendors!”

Kalana Amarasekara can be reached at [email protected].

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