Celebrate with cinders and cider

By Shianna Gibbons

Penguin Productions is hosting its 10th annual Fall Fire Fest on Oct. 19 from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the M71 lot with live performances from CPA Jake and Sedona.

Fall Fire Fest combines a bonfire, a student organization fair, a pep rally and a live music entertainment venue to raise school spirit.

Penguin Productions is a Youngstown State University student organization that hosts two large live-music events throughout the academic year. Fall Fire Fest is the fall semester event coordinated with Homecoming Week activities. 

Erin Driscoll, executive director of Student Experience and Residence Life, said Fall Fire Fest is a great social event.

“It’s really a chance to kick off our homecoming celebration. Each year, we usually have over 1,000 students that come out,” Driscoll said. “It’s a really great time for students to connect, hang out, bundle up in their favorite fall attire [with] some apple cider and to just have a good time.”

Driscoll said anyone is welcome to attend Fall Fire Fest.

“[Fall Fire Fest] is actually open to the community, too. If [students] have friends that go to another school or live in the area, they’re welcome to bring them along,” Driscoll said.

Fourteen student organizations will be present and some will have free games, snacks or swag for students.  

Aside from local artists CPA Jake and Sedona, YSU’s Marching Pride will also perform.

YSU student-athletes and the 2023 homecoming court will be at the event.

Fall Fire Fest will also have food trucks for the public and students.

Penguin Productions is also in charge of choosing local artists to attend the event. Abigail Gutowski, a senior telecommunications major, is a talent coordinator. She chooses the bands and assists them with stage layout.

“I heard a lot of good things about CPA Jake, and I’ve heard a lot of great things about Sedona,” Gutowski said. “I [also] make playlists for Fall Fire Fest. I listened to a little bit of [CPA Jake and Sedona’s] music when I was making the playlist, and they’re really good.”

CPA Jake will perform first, followed by the Marching Pride and pep rally, and Sedona will end the night.

Penguin Productions has worked on Fall Fire Fest since the beginning of the semester. Lydia Brownlee, a freshman forensic science major, said the organization has weekly meetings and different responsibilities.

“[Penguin Productions] has a weekly meeting where we break down what we did for the past week. Then each team has their separate meetings where we’re given assignments for the upcoming week,”  Brownlee said. “A lot of work went into this, but it’s also really fun.”

Brownlee is a part of the hospitality team, which is in charge of putting together different accommodations for the artists.

“I specifically am dealing with the green rooms. That’s where our artists go before and after they perform on stage,” Brownlee said. “I get to hang out with the artists and make them feel comfortable, which is really cool.”

Driscoll said if students are interested in joining Penguin Productions, there will be applications in spring for the Federal Frenzy event, which is April 27.

Fall Fire Fest is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring cash for the food trucks.