As most students in Tallahassee use this city for its collegiate experiences, the thought of permanently living in the area rarely seems to cross their mind.
The Knight Creative Communities Institute, with the help of Florida A&M University, Florida State University, and Tallahassee Community College, hope to change that.
The 4th annual Experience Tallahassee Festival was held Saturday afternoon at Cascades Park. This event’s sole purpose is to show students the benefits of living in the community.
“What we wanted to do with the Experience Tallahassee Festival was to showcase to university and TCC students some of the great opportunities in the greater Tallahassee area and make sure they’re aware of the wonderful things as a place to live, work, and play,” Betsy Couch, KCCI executive director, said.
Vendors, food trucks and projects presented at the festival offered an experience that one FAMU student said blew his mind.
“I’ve been here for years and I would’ve never expected the amount of opportunities for employment that this place offered, especially for me,” said Samuel Fortune, a PharmD candidate.
The institutions and the KCCI catalyst class, a group of community members who create projects to attract and retain young professionals in the Tallahassee area, teamed up to put on the event. These members were selected by the KCCI advisory board.
The festival was due to take place in October of 2018, but Hurricane Michael delayed it.
Heather Mayo, a member of the KCCI catalysts class, says one of the most difficult tasks was re-planning the event in the wake of the hurricane.
“I had to find new performers and some of the vendors dropped out,” said Mayo. “It was almost like we had to plan the event twice.”
Tools like social media and different communication channels within the universities and schools were used to publicize the event. KCCI catalysts class also did an influencer tour, identifying students who had a large influence at their respective campuses, hoping they’d get students to come out.
Performances included the FSU Seminole Sound, TCC Dance Company and an opening speech by Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey.
“I think it’s a really unique event for our community,” Mayo said. “There’s not a lot of events where all three schools partner on. I’m excited to see it grow.”
The night ended with a movie screening of “Incredibles 2,” where spectators sat on grass and the seats of Cascade Park’s amphitheater.