For the second year in a row, it was a perfect fall day with sunshine and 72 degrees and thousands of visitors enjoyed Heartland’s third annual Community Day open house; a chance for alumni and other community members to sample all the campus had to offer – free classes, food, entertainment, fishing at Birkey Pond and trolley tours. As flocks of kids bounced in the Jenni the Giraffe Bounce House, out mascot Hunter the Hawk danced to the sounds of the Biscuits n Gravy band and roamed the quad, making his way through the Activities Tent where international students applied henna tattoos and visitors played a cake walk type game to help them learn geography.
Of course, no event is complete without Zoo Lady face-painting, and we had a new addition this year – The Glitter Fairy who put sparkly tattoos on 230 children and adults! Another big hit, even with HCC soccer players, was the balloon artist from Funbelieveable Balloons provided by Snyder-Prudential. While parents and kids waited, the Normal Police Department’s Community Relations Officer Amanda Street fingerprinted children and let parents keep them as part of its ID A Kid program.
Community Day options also included nearly 40 mini-education courses that were so popular, in some cases we had to drag more chairs into the classroom. A couple the most popular classes - “Using and iPad” and “Journey Through the Solar System” as the Challenger Learning Center.
For the first time, area residents could drop off small electronics and test drive one of six electric vehicles from local car dealers and the town of Normal. Visitors also had a chance to learn more about construction of the new wind turbine, where the energy goes, much electricity can be produced, and much more.
Response to the day was overwhelmingly positive. A couple of members of Heartland’s Smart Steppers Walking Group said of the event, “We enjoyed the campus tour and learning about all the things offered on campus. Our tour guide did a very good job and everyone was so friendly through the day.” Joan and Chuck Bruder added, “We enjoyed the free lunch and good music to go along with it, and we really appreciated the opportunity to drop off many electronic recyclables. Of course, the good weather made it even better!”
Even the vendors loved being a part of it. Biscuits n Gravy Lead Singer Karen Bair said, “Great event. I heard several comments about how organized and nice the HCC event was. [sic]Your hard work was evident.”
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The Pantagraph was there to cover the day. See the story.
Biscuits n Gravy Band photographer Mary McClusky also captured some fun shots. Check it out.