A sneak peek into annual Maverick Holiday Carnival

Minnesota State’s Student Activities’ Community Engagement Office has once again organized the Maverick Holiday Carnival, an event where the Mankato community is invited to celebrate the holiday season on campus. 

The purpose of this event is to engage with the families of Mankato and the community children where games will be provided for them. 

With the holiday season finally beginning and December just right around the corner, Community Engagement Interim Assistant Director Crystal Watts says this annual event is a special get-together for Mankato families.

“This carnival happens every year, it’s one of our Maverick traditions. And it’s a really special time of the year to invite the Mankato community families onto our campus. It’s totally free of charge. It’s just a fun family day that runs for an hour and a half. And it’s a great way to kick off the holiday season and we don’t focus on any one particular holiday,” she said. “Just recognizing that there’s lots of diversity out there, and lots of reasons to celebrate in winter time. So that’s why we call it the Maverick Holiday Carnival. And we try to stick with fun themes that almost any child would identify with.” 

Watts shared the process in how the volunteer team planned the event and how this year’s holiday carnival would look like for the Mankato community and MNSU campus. 

“Mavs in Action is our student volunteer leadership team and we start the planning process probably around the beginning of October, and we talk about what we want, like a theme for the event and how we want to put it on. So in years past, we’ve had a lot of the same types of games and this year, we decided to switch it up,” Watts said. “Instead of having student groups bring their own games, we found that we had a lot of materials and supplies already. So we’re going to kind of turn it into a classic recess yard style, including parachutes and a bowling game.” 

Watts also shared that the event will have traditional carnival activities that the Mavs in Action have set up for the kids of Mankato along with a few new additions. 

“We’re having our usual popular ones, which are the rubber duckies, ring toss and then the fishing game that’s always a favorite classic carnival game. We’re really excited about that and then we’re also going to have a temporary tattoo station and a coloring station,” she said. “New this year, we’re having photo opportunities so we are creating a classic fireplace scene with a giant fireplace mantel and a giant cardboard Christmas tree so children can decorate or make paper ornaments to put on the tree. And then we have a holiday wishes paper chain started and children can add to it so they get a little strip of paper they get to write down a holiday or winter wish and they get to add it to that chain so they get to be part of the voice on campus.”

To make it all come together, Mavs in Action is part of the team that was able to make the carnival happen. The group, along with other volunteers, plan events and take the opportunities to help out and create impact on campus and their community. 

“This is all volunteer run. Our Mavs in Action team is the board for that. We’ve got six board members on that. And then we have many regular attendees every week that the last couple of weeks they’ve been helping us plan and put together all the crafts and decorations so we probably have about 30 different volunteers helping plan and put it in place,” she said. “If they sign up to volunteer, that’s great. We have been using the MAVCentral app that launched this year. And it has been wonderful, people are signing up for volunteer opportunities before I can even get digital graphics done. So a lot of it has been really popular on campus because of that platform because students are looking for ways to plug in that are meaningful”

The anticipated holiday celebration is to take place in the CSU Ballroom on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm.

Write to Anahi Zuniga at anahi.zuniga@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: The Mankato Holiday Carnival welcomes the entire Mankato community to MSU’s campus to celebrate the holiday season Saturday, Dec. 2 at 1-3:30 p.m. (Courtesy Crystal Watts)

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