Thousands flock to MAINstage for freebies, fun

Central Michigan University senior, Brittany Elia, laughs as she gets a balloon animal made during MAINstage 2012 on Aug. 26. (Kirsten Kearse | GCmag)

Thousands of Central Michigan University students ventured out to the area surrounding Rose Pond Sunday afternoon for free food, handouts, entertainment and the social atmosphere at MAINstage.

The annual event, sponsored by CMU’s Program Board, provided students and community members with handouts and information from campus organizations and bargains from local businesses. An array of student organizations, ranging from academic to athletic to fraternal, were in attendance to showcase their group’s work and values.

Various forms of entertainment were provided to attendees including blow-up obstacle courses, a zip-line, music and games.

MAINstage also featured two live music performances from student-based groups Ben Schuller and Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers.

Hertler, a Lake Orion senior, couldn’t finish his set as the rain began to pour at 5:30 p.m., though he said before the show that he is always excited to play for fellow students in Mount Pleasant.

“This is my main hood, you know. There’s nothing better than a good old ‘Pleasy’ show,” Hertler said. “Between here and Lansing, it’s always nice to play to your home crowd.”

Hertler, whose original music ranges from folk to rock to funk, said this is the sixth MAINstage he’s attended, though it’s the first he’s had the opportunity to perform at.

“Dave Matthews and Eve Six have played in the past and GRiZ performed last year,” Hertler said. “So it’s nice to join their company and have at it after all these years of coming to MAINstage.”

With the exception of the rain at the end of the afternoon, the event ran smoothly. However, some students said they waited for more than two hours to acquire a ticket to the Sept. 8 football game against Michigan State University through the university’s 2012 student ticket policy.

Program Board adviser Damon Brown said the university has never had to accommodate for rain while he has overseen MAINstage, though the weather turned sour near the end of Sunday’s event.

“In the 15-plus years MAINstage has been going on, we’ve never had to use our rain plan,” Brown said. “We’ve come close a couple times, but we’ve been very fortunate with the weather.”

Program Board member Samara Spotts, the MAINstage coordinator, said the event is wonderful for bringing the campus and Mount Pleasant communities together. Spotts, a Custer senior, said all of the tables at the event were filled with organizations and businesses.

“It’s great to see people take advantage of these opportunities to meet new students and recruit for their (student organizations) and department groups,” Spotts said. “It’s been a great turnout.”

Huntington Woods senior Maddie Murray, a member of Phi Chi Theta, said she attended the event to help recruit for her business fraternity. Murray said she enjoyed seeing the various talent throughout the event and meeting new students.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get any free stuff because I’ve worked the table all day,” Murray said. “But it’s been nice talking to people and business students. I at least get to see all of the free things people are getting.”