Celebration tradition to return as “Spring Fest”

Kate Stevens and Heather Vosburgh

A nearly 50-year tradition is set to return to Eastern, but with a different name. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Spring Fest, formerly known as the Celebration: a Festival of the Arts, will take place on Friday, April 22 until Sunday, April 24.

Eastern holds an annual festival in the spring so students have a chance to attend art, theatre, and other various events on campus and relax before the stress of finals begin.

Dennis Malak, the director of programming for the Doudna Fine Arts Center is enthusiastic about the debut of Spring Fest.

“I’m excited to see how people embrace this new format that the festival has,” Malak said.

Malak says that Spring Fest was supposed to debut in 2020 but was canceled due to COVID-19.

Spring Fest returns after the two-year hiatus with a few minor changes. Malak says that the original Celebration was large. It has been changed into two smaller festivals: Holiday Fest and Spring Fest.

Some of the changes for Spring Fest include moving some performances into the Doudna Fine Arts Center. This is to cut some costs as well as to keep performances from being rained out.

“Traditionally, if you ask anyone in town, if it’s going to be [Spring Fest], that means it’s going to rain. This festival, no matter what, is like a rain dance for this community,” Malak said.

As some events have moved indoors, there will still be plenty of events and vendors for EIU students and the community to enjoy outdoors in the Doudna Performance Courtyard.

There are also some new additions and minor changes to the festival. Spring Fest will feature one outdoor stage, consignments, and food trucks instead of having the usual carnival atmosphere. There will also be a Mario Kart Tournament in the lecture hall in Doudna.

“This will be the first time doing consignments. So, people can just drop off their work and we’ll sell it for them,” said Malak.

The percentage that the EIU art department receives for selling the artwork that people drop off goes to scholarships within the art department, according to Malak.

Malak says that the event will be scaled back a little bit. There will not be as many food vendors and the art show will be bit smaller.

“It will really give people a chance to see everything and just take it all in. As we rebrand [Spring Fest], we want to see what works and kind of grow and build from there,” he said.

Malak is excited to have the community and students back on campus for Spring Fest.

“It really has a strong tradition here, the spring festival of some sort. We want to continue that and keep that going. I think a lot of people look forward to it and I think it’s good for the community to see that things are coming back to the way that they used to be even if they’re slightly altered and changed,” said Malak.

CLAS Spring Fest is set to begin at noon on Friday, April 22 and continue through Sunday evening. For a complete list of events, visit https://www.eiu.edu/festival/schedule.php.

Kate Stevens can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. Heather Vosburgh can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].