Nov. 11, Midtown Row welcomed both residents and non-residents alike for its inaugural Williamsburg Fall Festival.
The complex opened in 2021 and quickly became a hot spot for upperclassmen at the College who strove to call its apartments, small businesses and restaurants home.
The idea for the Fall Festival came up in May of this past year, according to Midtown’s Marketing and Events Manager Hannah Warner. Warner’s main goal for the event was to gather people on site at Midtown for exciting games and attractions and help grow the community. In particular, Warner noted the inclusion of a mechanical bull for the event as a unique aspect meant to draw people in.
“So I thought to myself, ‘When was the last time we had a mechanical bull in Williamsburg?’” Warner said. “I couldn’t even remember.”
There were many family-friendly activities to participate in, like the aforementioned mechanical bull, a petting zoo and a towering rock climbing wall. The biggest focus of the event was highlighting local small businesses that have found their home in Midtown. Culture Fix, the local nonprofit organization that sponsored the event, also made an appearance, selling craft beers, ciders and orange drinks to people joining in on the festivities.
Warner expressed her hopes for the event becoming an annual tradition, saying she received a great response from the community.
“I think the most rewarding part is just seeing the success of [the festival], especially with [it being] the first year, and based on what happens this first year, what we can do for it next year to make it even better,” Warner said. “Also, just really providing something for the community to do, and giving the community a reason to come out and enjoy themselves.”
Many attendees focused on the festival’s live music. Barry Manilow’s Wardrobe, an ’80s cover band that frequents small bars and venues around Williamsburg, performed at the festival.
As described by rhythm guitarist and vocalist for the band Jim Meehan, Barry Manilow’s Wardrobe specializes in Alt ’80s music, which consists of bands like The Cure, The Smiths and Duran Duran. However, for Midtown’s Fall Festival, Meehan says the group focused on giving back to their fans by performing songs that had been requested by their online followers via Instagram polls.
“The majority of the music we played are actually things that folks who have seen us before that follow us asked us to play,” Meehan said. “We thought it would be a really good way to kind of thank everyone who has supported us and all of our music.”
The energy between the band members themselves fueled the energy of their crowd.
“We love the music that we’re playing, and we have really grown to love playing together,” Meehan said. “So I’m really looking forward to making a connection with the people that come out and see us, hopefully share some memories with them, and have a good time.”
Much of the dancing crowd and overall attendees of the event were College students.
Event attendees Thomas Donohue ’25 and Hallie Farrell ’25 said they found out about the event through some of the posters Midtown had set up around Williamsburg, but made the decision to come when Farrell heard the music playing on her walk down Richmond Road.
With the hopes of the event recurring annually, both Donohue and Farrell commented on their eagerness to potentially return to the festival next year.
“I kind of want to try the rock wall next year, or if we can get in early, I’d love a caricature,” Donohue said.