Farm Fest, a spring festival that is a successor to Farm Days, will be held April 23, tentatively on the Row.

Details are still being worked out, but plans include a music stage with live performances, food trucks and lawn games.

After two years of COVID-induced limitations on social activities, students are asking for “fun, cool, vibrant social opportunities on campus,” said Nate Boswell, who, as special assistant in the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, helped get planning started for this event. Farm Fest will be “a way to symbolically reinvigorate social life on campus.”

The event comes from the Stanford Social Project, a student group working with the university to create more vibrant social events on campus. It will build on Farm Days, which were held in May and October 2019 and again last fall on the lower Row House lawns.

Casual fun, beautiful weather

“The intent of the original Farm Days was to be a casual, fun outdoor event, taking advantage of the beautiful weather and campus and allowing students to have food, listen to music and be outside together,” said Boswell, now assistant dean of Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program.

Student crowd near foodtrucks

The October 2021 Farm Fest event featured a Halloween theme. (Image credit: Office of Student Engagement)

Jared Poblete, Class of ’23, happened on one of the early Farm Day events when he lived in a co-op on the Row.

“I had walked outside, and something was happening there – I grabbed a sandwich and had a good time,” he said.

Today, Poblete is part of the team planning to make Farm Fest an “iconic event.”

“This isn’t something that you just run into when passing by and maybe check out,” he said. “I’d like it to be something that people want to go to, rather than something people run into.”

Creating lifelong memories

In future years, holding Farm Fest at a location such as The Oval – the formal entrance to campus and a place that is not typically used for events – will help attendees create visual memories.

“It is the heart of campus and looks right onto our most photogenic spot on campus,” said Trista Shideler, assistant director in the Office of Student Engagement.

Farm Fest will then be a distinctly Stanford event, with Memorial Church as a backdrop.

“When I think of Stanford events, I don’t see a lot of iconography historically,” Poblete said. “There is no Hoover Tower event, there is no event at any of the fountains. There is no picturesque event that you can put on a postcard.”

Poblete hopes that the larger scale, more prominent location and new name will help cement Farm Fest as “an event that people go to deliberately – they plan it, they put it on their calendar, they want to go with their friends.”

“I think Farm Fest is an opportunity to create a large-scale spring festival event that is very Stanford specific,” Poblete said.