Lakeside’s Harvest Hoedown brings families together

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Families and friends mingled for a festive night filled with fun, food, and excitement. The Second Annual Harvest Hoedown was held Friday night, November 18, at the Lakeside Community Center. As a safe and fun family event, it really doesn’t get any better than this. It was literally designed for kids of all ages.

Families and friends mingled for a festive night filled with fun, food, and excitement. The Second Annual Harvest Hoedown was held Friday night, November 18, at the Lakeside Community Center. As a safe and fun family event, it really doesn’t get any better than this. It was literally designed for kids of all ages.

“Bringing Families Together through Boogie,” the Harvest Hoedown is actually a class project created by the students of “Recreation and Tourist Management 107,” a regular course offered at San Diego State University. The single semester class focuses on creating a community event. Students are split into small teams of three or four to complete what is essentially their course term paper and final class test. Their studies have a dual benefit: the students learn how to produce a community event and the communities get to experience that event. For the Fall semester, this class generated a Hoedown for Lakeside, a Turkey Bowl in Spring Valley, and an overnight camping trip at Lake Morena. The key to these events is the partnership between the SDSU and the San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department.

According to Ashley Westbrook, Parks and Rec Supervisor at the Lakeside Community Center, it’s nearly a perfect partnership: The SDSU students get real-life training and experience in the area of their major and Parks and Rec get a low-cost, fun event for the community. The nominal entrance fee of $5 per person ($3 for early registration) is mostly for related needs in creating such an event. This is not a “for profit” venture.

The SDSU students behind the Hoedown program were Andrew Caparell (20), Jordan Vargas (22), Cole Holderman (21), and Chelsea Mabrey (23). All are seeking a degree at SDSU in the recreation and tourism field. Their semester began with this assignment and culminated with the setup and execution of the event itself. The students are evaluated and graded on all aspects of the process. The joy and fun of this project was evident as the four went about their assigned tasks with smiles and laughter.

Many Lakesiders dressed in their best “Hoedown” attire for a night of old fashioned family fun. Food and refreshments were included, along with some great music and a little dancing. The kids enjoyed a number of activities designed just for them, such as face painting, musical chairs, various games, a photo booth, and much more.

The continuing agreement between SDSU and Parks and Rec calls for both an autumn and a spring event. Next up for Lakeside: a National Picnic Day celebration in April, to be held in Lindo Lake Park. And look for the 3rd Annual Harvest Hoedown next year.

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