The 60th Harker Family and Alumni Picnic, titled Peace Love Picnic, danced through a warm afternoon, the sound of Harker choirs and bands blending with the chatter of young and old enjoying a perfect end-of-summer day on the ’60s-themed Blackford campus.
The picnic featured a special “Birthday Boulevard” to celebrate the anniversary of former school president Howard Nichols’ birthday and, for the first time, the lower school choir and combination lower and middle school jazz band took to the stage to entertain picnickers. All three campuses’ performing arts groups, along with a magician and storyteller, kept the stage hopping the whole day.
Mary Hyver (Ben, grade 5; Emma, grade 3), a new family to Harker, was strolling the blacktop with husband, Scott, and two smaller children enjoying the picnic for the first time. “There is plenty to do for the kids,” she said. The family was anticipating watching Ben perform with the lower and middle school jazz band later.
Middle schoolers were there to see and be seen. Selin Ekici, grade 7, has been attending Harker since grade 3 and attends picnics regularly. “It has just always been really fun,” she said, “I’m mainly here to see everybody.”
Ekici was accompanied by classmate Chloe van den Dries, who said she was there to “play the games and eat food. I just like to come and walk, to watch the crowds.”
Plenty of upper school students were evident. Sean Knudsen, grade 9, at the picnic to perform with Bel Canto, and wearing his football jersey (varsity won Friday night, bringing their record to 6-0) was wandering the picnic area with a friend, just checking things out.
“I’m here to support my cousin,” said Apurva Gorti, grade 9. “He’s singing.” Otherwise, she said, “I’m just here to be with my friends, just hang. My brother is over there, and he’s in kindergarten, so he came for all the games and rides and he’s having a really good time.”
As an alum and now a mom, Preete Bhanot ’88, attending with her two children (Keshav, grade 2; Priya grade 4) has a few picnics behind her. “I love it!” she said of the picnic. “I have been bringing (the children) since Priya was in kindergarten – we come every year. This year, with her children on stage in the choir, “we ate and we watched their performance, which was really cool – this was the first time they have performed in it.”
Priya said she loves winning prizes, but her favorite activity is dunking the teachers at the dunk tank. Keshav said he was there for the rock climbing.
The stage was never empty for long and at 3:30 the ’60s Dance Party began to wind up the day. The grand prize drawing for $10,000 was at 4 p.m.; watch for the full story on winners in the next few days!