The Social Planning and Events Committee will host its inaugural SPEC Fest this weekend featuring a number of fall-themed activities and food.
At SPEC Fest, which will be held on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on College Green, festival goers will be able to partake in a variety of activities such as a pumpkin patch, corn maze, apple factory, photo booths, yard games, inflatables, as well as tattoo artists. Food will be provided by a variety of vendors, and apple cider and La Colombe coffee will also be served, according to SPEC Executive Committee.
SPEC was founded in 1990 as a way to organize campus-wide social and cultural events, according to the Office of Student Affairs. SPEC consists of nine sub-committees and is overseen by an executive board. The group is most known for its annual Spring Fling concert.
SPEC President and College senior Evonna Moody said that the executive board has been planning SPEC Fest since summer.
“It’s been a challenge since this is a revival of an old tradition,” she said, adding that SPEC was faced with the reimagining of past fall festivals and events at Penn. "The purpose of SPEC Fest is to revive what was Skimmer fest, a collaboration between Class Board and SPEC."
Skimmer, a Penn tradition that began in 1949, featured a weekend of concerts and social events during the spring semester. It found its origins in February 1949 as a small gathering celebrating the rowing team at The Daily Pennsylvanian, according to Penn's archives. It eventually evolved into a weekend-long celebration called Spring Fling in 1973.
In September 2011, the 2013 and 2014 Class Boards had attempted to recreate Skimmer and organized an event with food, hot air balloon rides, and music to celebrate the start of the athletic season.
“While this is the inaugural iteration of SPEC Fest, it’s nothing foreign to SPEC,” Moody said, adding that SPEC is very familiar with organizing events for students. “It’s a simple, very effective formula for bringing together the Penn community."
As a part of its yearly programming, SPEC Connaissance and SPEC Film co-hosted film director and producer Spike Lee on Nov. 1 for a talk in the Irvine Auditorium.
Moody said that SPEC was inspired by similar events at peer institutions but emphasized SPEC Fest’s uniqueness in that it is entirely student-planned.
“SPEC is returning to its old glory. I think we were stifled by the pandemic,” Moody said. “SPEC Fest is not only fulfilling our duty to plan events that resonate with the Penn community but also following our personal goals of returning SPEC back to its old glory.”