Big Patio Social welcomes students back to school

Nitro Freshness: A boy fills his cup with Café Barnabas' nitro chai to stay fresh. The nitrogen-infused drink is a new item on the tea hub's menu.

Yash Chitrakar

“We wanted to be part of an event that brought the rest of College Hill together. There is a lot of diversity here and great businesses in town,” said Danielle Dempsey-Swopes, director of University Diversity and Inclusion, before the Big Patio Social. She added, “We just want visitors to be close and have a good time today.”

The event, held on August 25 at The Burger Stand, delivered exactly that, as hordes Washburn students, locals, and College Hill residents came together in what was a lively social get-together. The event was the first of its kind.

Before the event commenced at 6 pm, The Burger Stand was occupied by its regular fill of customers. As soon as the clock hit thirty minutes past six, however, students began to swarm the area. The venue was abuzz till 10 o’clock in the night. All around, people were eating the savory burgers and fries, drinking their drink of choice, and enjoying whatever companionship they had.

The event had a lot to offer to keep the attendees busy. Tables for vendors, small businesses, organizations, and the like were set up for browsing. One of the businesses, Café Barnabas, had brought their new and special Nitro Chai, a nitrogen-cooled tea, to their table along with flavorful bubble teas and other beverages. Hazel Hill brought delicious sweets and baked items. Washburn’s Greek fraternity, Kappa Sigma had their own table set up. There was even a face-painting booth that mostly kids gravitated to.

Some of the tables had local artists who had come to sell and exhibit their art. Tina Brackman, who has been doing pottery for three years, was selling all sorts of earthenware—some her own, some not. Nathan Biester, a mixed media artist, was showcasing an array of artwork ranging from pop art done on sheets of clothes and canvas to ones done on coffee mugs.

A video game truck was parked across the street where people could go play games like Dance Dance Revolution and Mortal Kombat.

As the day progressed, more and more people joined the crowd. Even onlookers from the apartments above made their way into the gathering. The event was a great way to welcome students back to school too. “I’m having fun,” said Marine Suzuki, a senior majoring in biochemistry, and added, “I’d come again next year,” as she took a swig from a bottle of Indian pale ale. She had a basket of French fries to accompany the drink.

To accompany the food and the drinks, DJ Arkutec and DJ Unii from Create/Uplift (CULT), a multimedia company, created an energetic ambiance by playing tracks littered with danceable beats. This came in handy, especially in the night when the temperate day got cooler and people, to keep themselves warm, danced the night away.