Published on Cavalier Daily
This year’s Tom Tom Fall Block Party, the Tomtoberfest, will take place Sept. 23 and 24 at Lee Park by the Charlottesville Downtown Mall. This year, Tomtoberfest hopes to prove even more successful than past years with a new location and lineup of events. Friday’s events span from 5-11p.m. and Saturday’s events run from 12-11 p.m., and will include the Tech Mixer, where students can mingle and network with firms, food trucks, New Belgium and Virginia craft beers and ciders and concerts with local bands ranging from blues to funk. Only Saturday will host student organization tents and FLEAville, which has craft vendors selling handcrafted jewelry, candles, soaps and other goods. The Tomtoberfest is a small taste of what is to come in the spring: the Tom Tom Founders Festival. Like many things in Charlottesville, the festival is named after Thomas Jefferson, and its symbol of the buffalo represents pioneering innovation. Entering its fifth year, the fall festival is showcasing significant changes to its management and events. Emily Tu, third-year College student and student fellow for Tom Tom Fest, first became involved with the organization last fall as a volunteer for the fall festival, and from there joined the Student Outreach team. The team was newly divided this year into the volunteer coordinator, the student partnership and the Buffalo Bureau, which is currently in the works to become a new CIO and will serve as ambassadors to the festival. “It’s basically going to be Tom Tom ambassadors … [who] get to work on projects and put on events throughout the year that would have to do with art, entrepreneurship, music and things like that,” Tu said. New for the fall festival’s volunteers, Tom Tom Fest has partnered with UBike — the on Grounds biking company — to provide bikes at zero cost for five days so volunteers can get to Lee Park via bike for free. “We had an UBike rep come in and show everyone how to use it, which is a perk for volunteers,” Tu said. Alongside this change in management, changes have been made to the events scheduled for Tomtoberfest. New to the lineup is the addition of student organization tents. Tu, who is in charge of partnerships with student organizations, said she has signed up ten student organizations to have tents at the festival to help increase student involvement with Tom Tom. A few of the student CIOs who will have tents are Challah for Hunger, which will be there selling challah, Third Year Council, which will host a third-year student mixer, and U.Va. Sustainability, which will bring a variety of samples, seedlings and dirt. Tu said she is most looking forward to the new feature the student organization tents will bring to Tomtoberfest. Student Hip Hop Organization will also attend, according to Tu. “They said they’re bringing a DJ controller that will be mixing with live while at the same time encouraging people to learn how to do some simple DJ-ing techniques,” Tu said. The Tomtoberfest will also be held in a new location this fall. Last year the event was at IX Art Park, but this year it will be held at Lee Park where the spring Tom Tom Founders Festival is held. Fourth-year Commerce student and student fellow Alex Rossi said she thinks the change of venue will be beneficial for both the fall and spring festivals. “The spring festival is held in Lee Park, and, for me at least, it provides more continuity, and I think it makes sense to have it in Lee Park all year round, fall festival to the spring festival,” Rossi said.