By Delaney Daly
BEMIDJI – As their annual thank you to the Bemidji community for its continuous support, Bemidji State University is inviting the public Tuesday to the seventh annual Community Appreciation Day.
“It has grown tremendously,” said Joe Czapiewski, development staff at the BSU Alumni Foundation, adding the original idea was brought up seven years ago by board member Joe Lueken.
“It’s about finding a way to build a better relationship with the rest of Bemidji,” Czapiewski said. “We want to get people to the heart of campus.”
Beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the BSU Pavilion, the event is open to the public at no charge. A free shuttle bus service from the parking lots at Bangsberg Hall and the John Glas Fieldhouse will begin at 4:15 p.m. Recommended for guest parking is the lakefront trail off of the Bangsberg parking lot.
“It will be easy for people to come and go when they want,” said, Czapiewski.
This year’s appreciation day will present “A Taste of BSU,” with food from area businesses such as Lueken’s Village Foods, the Minnesota Nice Cafe, Qdoba, the Peppercorn Restaurant & Lounge and other eateries.
Children can have fun at the “Meet the Beavers” session, where they will meet BSU student athletes and participate in a variety of games and activities. Balloons and face painting will be available throughout the evening, and residents can get their picture taken with BSU’s Bucky the Beaver.
The festival, Czapiewski said, is sure to be a hotspot for Bemidji’s diversity.
“You get to see all walks of life here,” he said. “There are a lot of families that come.”
Many booths from various campus departments and activities and local businesses and organizations will be open during the evening, providing information and entertainment for anyone interested.
“We’re proud to see a lot more people,” Czapiewski noted.
Last year, an estimated 3,000 people frequented the BSU campus for the event, the number growing larger during the after-event Beavers football game.
Although there won’t be football this year to accompany Community Appreciation Day, Czapiewski said the live music from the Johnny Holm Band will draw a good-sized crowd this year.
The three-hour performance begins at 6:30 p.m. on 14th Street between Deputy and Bangsberg halls.
Czapiewski said spectators will be able to fill the surrounding streets and lawns.
Booth spaces are still available. Businesses or organizations wishing to participate in Community Appreciation Day can call the BSU Foundation at (218) 755-2779.
“We are very thankful for all partners that are helping everything go well,” said Czapiewski.
In event of severe weather, Community Appreciation Day will be moved to the John Glas Fieldhouse.
By Delaney Daly