On Dec. 15, in a modestly decorated South Atrium, the Marlborough community celebrated the holidays and the end of first semester with a less wasteful and more inclusive Winter Fest, raising a grand total of $8,700, well above the predicted income of $4,000 for the separate class funds. This year the Parents’ Association Winter Fest Committee made a concerted effort to be more sustainable, reusing some decorations and repeating last year’s “A Time To Chill” theme, and to be more fair by making all food free and limiting the number of raffle tickets a girl was able to purchase.
“They wanted Winter Fest to be more inclusive, and fun for the whole School,” said Winter Fest Comittee co-chair Katie Vinnicombe, mother of Megan ’14.
In past years, girls purchased tickets for a dollar a piece to be used on raffle baskets, tasty treats or fun, holiday-themed activities, such as tumbling through a mound of fake snow. This time around, however, the Winter Fest Committee, chaired by Vinnicombe, Linda Dean ’77 and Carolyn Sanford, decided all students and faculty who wanted to participate would pay $20 and receive 100 raffle tickets, to be used at their own discretion. Additionally, if a student won multiple baskets, she only took home the first basket she acquired, so that more people would have a shot at leaving with a prize.
“I think it was more fair [this year] because when they limited the [number of] tickets a person could have, it gave everyone an equal chance,” Noah ’16 said.
In an effort to go green, the nearly 80 prize baskets were not painstakingly wrapped in layers of cellophane, as they have been in the past. Rather, the Committee took photographs of the goodies and displayed them for students to peruse. Despite some enthusiasm for being sustainable, the decorations were thought by some students to have been rather Puritanical for Marlborough’s usually loud tastes.
“I missed the decorations. Last year there were Christmas trees and nutcrackers and a giant tent…this year there was nothing,” Annie ’16 said.
While the new ticket system might have equalized the playing field for winning raffle baskets, it certainly did not reduce the usual chaos that tends to come with Winter Fest.
“The raffle was a little bit hectic, because of how many tickets we were given,” Hannah ’14 said. The girls also had to write their names on each individual ticket, and with 100 to deal with, hands began to cramp and the girls’ patience began to wane.
The raffle prizes included two iPads, a television set, tickets to Disneyland, several iPod Touches and a Kindle.
“I usually don’t win raffles. It was kind of a surprise!” said Emilia ’14, winner of the Kindle.
Each raffle basket is assigned to the grade of the student who donated that basket’s prizes, and there is an annual competition between classes to see which grade’s baskets take in the most tickets. This year’s winner was the 9th Grade, with raffle baskets such as an iPad and a Nikon digital camera.
Besides raffling, some of the most popular activities at Winter Fest were a bounce house, a photo booth, a fortune teller, a simulated ski machine, and arts and crafts. “I thought it was fun checking out the holiday cookie-making station, because it put me in the holiday mood,” Paris ’14 said. Girls also feasted on homemade food provided by the parents; the lunch stations included Italian, American, Asian and Mexican food, and there were numerous dessert stations, which included hot chocolate, mini melts, and other delicious goodies.
For most seventh graders, save those with older siblings at Marlborough, this is the first Winter Fest they’ve experienced.
“I got to spend a lot of time with my friends, without having to worry about School, and I got to try a bunch of food.” Jackie ’17 said. “I also really liked seeing what my friends made [at the activity stations].” While the Class of 2017 was generally eager to be a part of Winter Fest and seemed to have a good time, the seniors were a little more jaded than the carefree seventh graders, having experienced five other Winter Fests.
“I feel like it’s a very clichéd thing, where the moms do their best to make something nice for us, but at that point we’re so done with School, and being required to stay at School [for Winter Fest]… well, it’s not fun,” Rebecca ’12 said, “It has good intentions, but it never seems to come out right.” Many seniors left Winter Fest at the soonest possible moment or skipped it altogether.
However, the attitude of fun and excitement for winter break is what most believe defines the event, and more often than not, girls had a nice time being with their friends.
“I thought that it was a great way to end the semester,” Liz ’17 said.