When beer festivals and high schoolers collide for the greater good

Yaamini Venkataraman

Fall Festival, an annual event organized by the Rotary Club, gives MVHS students a volunteering opportunity 

Fall is underway, but even though the season is changing, the weather isn’t. This resulted in Cupertino residents flocking to the Fall Festival on September 19 and 20, toasting in the sun and enjoying themselves.

Originally known as Oktoberfest, a famous German beer festival, Fall Festival is the Rotary Club of Cupertino’s big annual fundraiser. Each year, this international community service organization provides Cupertino citizens a break from their normal schedules and a chance to get informed about the city’s public resources and to have some good family fun.

 "A lot of planning and forethought went into this," Rotary Club president Liz Gallegos said, "We try to make [Fall Festival] an education forum."

The Fall Festival takes about a year to plan, and its proceeds are donated to local and international charities. Fall Festival is divided into four zones: Earth Zone, where people can learn how they can help the environment, Health and Safety Zone, where flu shots are given and children can climb into emergency response vehicles, Kids Zone, and the Food Court. The Fine Arts Show, held in the Community Hall, offered air-conditioning and beautiful paintings to art-lovers and people looking for a respite from the heat. There were two stages where  the residents of Cupertino’s diverse talents, from Bollywood singing to funny Jack Sparrow impressions, were represented. On the far side of the field, the 3rd graders of all the schools in the CUSD district came to do the chicken dance.

Not only does the Fall Festival involve Rotarians and other adult community members, but several MVHS students come and help out too. DECA had its own booth for publicizing  the DECA Leadership Development Conference, and helped the company FireEar raffle and sell fire alarms. DECA members also manned some activities in the Kids Zone. Interact, the junior version of the Rotary Club, manned the Kids Zone and Community Leadership was helping out in the Earth Zone.  

"We just help anywhere they need help," sophomore and DECA member Nive Jayasekhar said. 

With this simple mentality in mind, several MVHS students come to make the Fall Festival a little less of a burden on the Rotarians. But their help doesn’t go unnoticed. Although there is no physical incentive, all of the adult volunteers nod their head in approval at the sight of kids helping out.

While the Rotary Club has had some problems publicizing the event, every year there’s been a great turnout. And why not? With food, games, education, and fun for the family, all the adults really need to do is top it off with a beer.