Labor Day weekend is a time of relaxation and fun for most college students, but Missouri Western’s Lacrosse team found a different use of their time. Rather than staying home or vacationing far away, the team chose to travel across the state border to the little town of Wathena, Kansas, where they volunteered their time running carnival rides for the town's citizens.
For Wathena, Kansas, Labor Day weekend marks the town's annual Fall Festival, where the community comes together to celebrate with live music, shows, games and a traveling carnival. Among the lacrosse team in attendance was Cici Langmaid, who shared that the team went in not knowing what to expect when they volunteered for the event.
“We had no idea that we were controlling the rides. We thought we were just setting up the inflatables.” Langmaid explained. “So the first day was a little scary because none of us had any idea what we were doing, but it ended up being really easy.”
When people weren’t out enjoying themselves at the carnival rides, the festival boasted a variety of events, including a pie auction, a tractor pull, a fire eater and a magic show.
Fellow Western Lacrosse player Kari Ham attended the weekend festivities and explained how the team came across the opportunity.
“It was one of the local things that popped up during our search for fundraising. We've been doing things like this all summer. For example, we worked at the Chiefs camp.” Ham said. “Since we are a new team, we also have had a lot of support from St. Joseph and the surrounding areas. Doing something like this felt like a way we could give back and become a bit more involved.”
In Ham’s free time between running the rides, she had the chance to try the popular food truck “The Enchilada Lady” and get to know the people in the community. Ham told how she met an interesting rider on her favorite attraction she ran.
“The Bull ride was my favorite ride. I met some pretty cool people, and it was probably the most outlandish thing there. It never felt mundane to run, and I can’t lie, it was pretty fun to watch kids try and stay on the bull.” Ham said. “The standout rider to me was the groom from the wedding party that stopped by. His new wife asked me to put it as high as it could go. He wasn't there very long! Their party had a nice laugh after that.”
Thanks to the time and help of the Missouri Western Lacrosse team, Wathena, Kansas, once again held another successful Fall Festival for all the members of its town.