On October 10, the 60th Harker Family & Alumni Picnic, Peace Love Picnic, unfolded on a beautiful and warm afternoon, the sound of Harker choirs and bands blending with the chatter of young and old enjoying a perfect fall day on the ’60s-themed middle school campus.
This year the picnic featured special theme activities and areas to celebrate the 60th birthday of this one-of-a-kind event. Happy Birthday Boulevard, Past and Present Plaza, K-BID Sound of the ’60s Auction and Groovy Grove all provided birthday themed fun for young and old. 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.
New Harker parents Scott and Mary Hyver, with Ben, grade 5 and Emma, grade 3, enjoyed the picnic for the first time with two smaller children. The family was anticipating watching Ben perform with the lower and middle school jazz band later, and in the meantime, Mary Hyver said, “there is plenty to do for the kids.”
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.
Plenty of upper school students were evident. Sean Knudsen, grade 9, at the picnic to perform with Bel Canto and wearing his football jersey (the team was in the midst of a record setting seven-game winning streak), was wandering the picnic area with a friend, just checking things out. A full contingent of jersey-wearers were trying out the hammer-and-bell trial of strength with some success. Others were there to watch friends and family perform.
“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 alumna 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.”
At the picnic, the stage is never empty for long and at 3:30 the ’60s Dance Party started to wind up the day. The crowd was still going strong at 4 p.m. when the $10,000 grand prize was drawn (see winners on page 25), and the evening was still warm as the last picnickers trundled off, sated with food, entertainment and memories.