This post is a student contribution from Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past
On Friday evening I attended the 250th anniversary celebration on the main green that culminated with a grandiose firework display. The gathering was the first of many celebrations over the weekend honoring the anniversary and it turned into a massive affair. I arrived at the event shortly before President Paxson began to speak. I was not able to hear what she was saying unfortunately as I was not close enough to the stage but there was a loud roar when she declared Brown “the Ivy League champion of fun”. At the time it was a medium sized gathering but nothing exceptional. Every minute though it seemed more and more people started to fill in, and before I knew it I looked back and college green was completely packed. People were filling college green from every direction in anticipation of the firework display. After President Paxson finished speaking we were treated to a prayer by the University Chaplain, remarks from politicians and board members, and finally a word poem from a student group. My main critique of the event lies here as standing in the crowd I was unable to hear anything that was being said on stage. Speaking to many of my fellow students who were at the event they were similarly annoyed and perplexed. Given all the preparation that went into setting up the event, one would think they would make sure to have a sound system that enabled attendees to hear sufficiently. Ultimately, all of the proceedings besides the firework display were impractical and irrelevant without being able to hear. One of the coolest features of the night was the cake the university had made for the event. The majestic cake, a model of University Hall, was 650 pounds and an astonishing 1,400 pieces (somehow I still didn’t get one!). The fireworks were the main reason most people attended the event and they did not disappoint. The pyrotechnics display was grand, spanning about five full minutes and leaving one thinking they were at a New Years party at a hotel rather than at a university party. On the side of the Stephen Roberts Center a display appeared in blazing white flames spelling out “250+”. As the fireworks spewed from the roof of the center, the fireworks illuminated the whole green. I have seen many large firework displays but left extremely impressed by what I had seen. The overcast sky and chilly weather gave the fireworks a different, more unique feel than previous pyrotechnic displays I had seen. The finale was grand, culminating with the “250+” appearing again but this time in gold flames. All in all I thought it was a nice event and a good precursor to start off the celebratory weekend by the university. People who attended the event seemed to genuinely to enjoy it and left with smiles on their faces. I was only able to attend one other event all weekend unfortunately, but many other students who I spoke with who attended many of the weekend’s events said the firework display was their highlight.