Wassail at the W returns for third consecutive year

Jessica Barnett

Online Editor

The W will be participating in Wassail Fest for a third year on Dec. 4 in Pohl Gymnasium.

The festival celebrates wassail, a spiced cider that is usually served around the holidays. Angela Ferraez, director of major gifts and special events at The W, remembered Wassail Fest being celebrated at her dad’s store when she was younger and wanted to help create those memories for those at The W now.

“My dad owned a business downtown for 52 years, so when I was growing up, The W and downtown were one,” said Ferraez. “We came to everything The W had, the W girls were always walking to downtown… [that’s] the way I grew up. So a couple years ago, I asked if we could sponsor downtown Wassail Fest so that we could have a continuation of it here on campus.”

Ferraez expects more than 1,000 people to attend this year, and she has planned accordingly. Previous events have included photo opportunities with Santa, Mrs. Claus and Ody the Owl. There were also crafts for children, horse-drawn carriage rides and plenty of free food and wassail. For 2015, Ferraez has added more crafts, more carriages, more food and even an ice skating rink.

Among those helping her are Allie Burt and Chef Mary Helen Hawkins. Burt acted as a Santa’s helper at the two previous fests, and this year, she will be playing the role of a popular ice queen.

“My favorite thing is probably just being able to watch the community come in and just realize how – how much it means to them to have a place where they can come and they can bring their kids,” said Burt, a junior and culinary arts major.

Meanwhile, Hawkins has employed her Advanced Baking Class to create a special presentation for Wassail at the W. Past showpieces have included a gingerbread replica of the campus. This year, a culinary arts student will be modeling a dress made entirely of cupcakes.

Wassail at the W opens to W students, faculty and staff at 7 p.m. The free event opens to the public at 8 p.m.