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The Wildcat Roar

A succesful, albeit sickly Tastefest

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The Wildcats face off against Brighton at this year’s Tastefest. (Caption via Arieis Feldpausch)

By 5 P.M. On September 15th, the Novi High School stadium was packed wall to wall with students and community members knee-deep in the festivities of the annual Tastefest. The fundraiser is primarily known for its wide selection of food and the concurrent Varsity football game. Present were a variety of local food trucks, as well as fan-favorite chains like Chick-fil-A. A children’s “fun zone” with a variety of inflatables and face painting was also available before and during the game.

 

 “This is something I look forward to every year,” senior Aniyah Riley said, “Especially the food.” 

 

Sophomore Avery Moncrief mirrored the sentiment. 

 

“I was excited for this all day. The football game is super cool,” Moncrief said.

 

The nonprofit group, Novi Athletic Boosters, organizes the fundraiser each year and uses the proceeds to further their mission statement to, “support and promote our athletic programs throughout the Novi Community School District by encouraging and recognizing outstanding scholastic achievement, sportsmanship, and character both on and off the field.” Also involved in the setup of Tastefest was the Novi Varsity Hockey Team who “co-run” the event every year.

 

“(The partnership) originally started because a few of the parents from the Booster have children who play hockey here. Over the years hockey has helped co-run Tastefest,” said coach Dane Baruzzini. “The hockey players do all the setup and physical labor. They’ll move all the tables, chairs, tents, everything fans get to see at the event. Then, at the end of the night when the football is all done, they come and help with the teardown as well.”

 

A week after the event Novi Athletic Booster’s President Amy Matas shed some light on the event’s results. 

 

“It was very, very profitable this year. We had some wonderful donors and sponsors that made Tastefest what it was… Kaija Juszak and Julie Londo were committee chairs for the event. They get all the praise for the awesome event they put together.” Matas said. “Every single dollar that we earned will go back to our athletic teams, whether it’s middle school or high school.”

 

While a monetary success and a community hit, the 2023 Tastefest was far from flawless. As the event came to a close, many students and parents became irritated with the massive amounts of traffic forming in the parking lot. Construction at the athletic entrance further complicated the flow of traffic and confused some community members unfamiliar with the area. Most affected was the intersection of Ten Mile Road and Taft Road, which was frequently at a standstill and a major inconvenience for those attempting to turn right out of the athletic lot. 

 

The weekend following Tastefest many students began to feel ill and believed their sickness was linked to the event. Senior Derick Xi detailed the effect of this on the school. 

 

“It feels like pretty much everyone got sick the weekend of Tastefest. From what I saw there were probably seventy kids still out on Monday.” Xi went on to describe the popular rumor among the student body of how the disease began to spread. “Everyone is saying that it was one kid who wasn’t feeling good and came to Tastefest anyway.” Those who were sick described a variety of head cold-like symptoms that lasted for multiple days. There were hand sanitation stations spread throughout the event to combat sickness, according to Matas. However, it’s unclear how often they were utilized by attending students.

Despite the drawbacks Tastefest faced, there’s no denying the success of the event or the fun community bonding it provided to hundreds of students and families. As Novi looks forward to the future, anticipation is sure to be high for Tastefest next year.

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About the Contributor
Alexander Dyga, Staff Writer
Alexander Dyga is a Junior. This is his first year on staff. Alex enjoys reading, writing, and gaming for an unhealthy amount of time. There’s a story everywhere. If you have one contact him at [email protected].

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