The official start of the fall season is always imprecise. The breeze becomes a bit crisper, some leaves change color while others don’t, and the scent of fresh apples and pumpkins gently fill the air. Warm daytime temperatures give way to frosty nights.  But for those in Clinton, N.Y., the beginning of the season is marked by two of Hamilton’s most cherished traditions: Hamilton Fall Fest and the Off the Hill Challenge.

As in past years, the festivities centered around the Clinton Village Green, drawing in students from the College as well as members of the Clinton community. The event was hosted by Hamilton Student Assembly’s Social Traditions Committee in collaboration with the Clinton Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 5.

To kick off the Fall Fest activities, BLSU hosted a pumpkin-painting stand while Student Assembly provided games like cornhole and large Connect Four. A cappella groups Tumbling After and the Hamiltones also performed under the gazebo, offering spirited music for everyone to listen to while munching on complimentary apple cider, cookies, donuts, chili, and chowder from The Cider Mill and Northstar Orchards.

Students were excited to complete the Off the Hill challenge, where they were tasked to visit 12 local businesses in the village and get stamps indicating they visited each. In doing so, they had the chance to chat with business owners and enjoy samples of each store’s products, including cheese, candy, stickers, succulents, and cards with Hamilton drawings. The first 100 students who completed the challenge won a free shirt as their final prize.

The 12 participating businesses are many of the local favorites in the community, including: Giovanni’s Pizzeria, Clinton Florist, Artisans’ Corner, Dawn Marie’s Treasures, The Cremeria, Lost Hi-Way Books & Records, Tom’s Natural Foods, Utica Coffee Roasters, Rose Petal Gifts, The Village Crossing, Almost Local, Krizia Martin Apparel Giftware, and Soul Bowl.

Over the years, the event has grown, enticing more and more students to get off campus and become familiar with the surrounding community. It was a great day for Clinton residents and students alike to talk with one another and foster a closer relationship, all while enjoying quality food, music, and company.

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