As the colors of the leaves begin to change and the temperatures start to plummet, the Loyola community prepares to celebrate the new season with its second annual Harvest Festival. On September 30, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Retreat and Ecology Campus (2710 S. Country Club Rd., Woodstock, Illinois), the University will host a fun-filled, eventful day celebrating this year’s autumn harvest.

Summur Roberts, director of community relations, is looking forward to students coming to the Retreat and Ecology Campus to celebrate the season and bring a community feel to the campus.

“We’re really looking forward to the student presence coming to Woodstock. The campus has come so far since last year, especially our restoration efforts and wetland work, which continues to develop. Harvest Festival provides a wonderful opportunity for students and the community to come together and experience all that the campus can offer,” she says.

This unique fall celebration is designed to reinforce the campus’s mission to serve as a place for spiritual and intellectual growth and dedication to ecological sustainability.

Festival goers will have the opportunity to browse a mini-farmers market, including produce from the local farm; enjoy complimentary, tasty treats whipped up by Executive Chef Scott Commings; warm up by the bonfire; lend their hand to help with the harvest from the local garden, take tours of the facility, and enjoy live music.

Family activities are also a part of Harvest Festival. Kids can get their faces painted, decorate pumpkins, and press apple cider while adults enjoy a leisurely drink at the beer and wine tent, which will feature local labels.

Aside from these family-friendly happenings, Harvest Festival 2012 is offering a new feature for Loyola students. Designed to allow students to take a break from school and stressful exams, the campus’s high ropes course will be open for the day.

To help ensure the event is a success, Loyola is adding local resources to the mix, partnering with the Bull Valley Association, the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce, and the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation.

Harvest Festival is open to the public and free, but registration is highly recommended. Transportation will be provided from the Lake Shore Campus to the event. Sign up here or visit for more details.