FLINT, MI – Kettering University officials hosted a festival Saturday, July 20, to celebrate 100 years of education in the Flint community, though the event ended a early due to a summer storm.
“This is representative of us as a community coming together,” Kettering President Robert McMahan said of the event. “I hope (the guests) walk away feeling that Kettering is a part of this community and appreciate that connection.”
Kettering is a highly regarded private university offering STEM and business degrees. It opened in 1919 as The School of Automobile Trades and was also the General Motors Institute at one time, according to Kettering’s website.
The free event Saturday to mark the university’s milestone year began at noon, but officials announced around 4:30 p.m. that the rest of event was canceled due to expected severe weather, including a planned concert by rapper T-Pain.
Other artists performed throughout the afternoon in Atwood Stadium, while vendors and food were available on the lawn outside of the stadium.
“I really like (the event),” Flint resident Leah Bailey said. “I think everybody is waiting for the concert. I came out to support the vendors actually. Sometimes small businesses don’t get as much love as they need to.”
Four-year-old Jada Wilburn and her parents hosted her first booth at a vendor event selling homemade watermelon flavored lip gloss called “Jada’s Kisses.”
“She started because she always wanted to buy lip gloss to wear and she was really into make-up with her auntie,” Jada’s mother Kayla Wilburn said. “So, we thought we should make some lip gloss and kind of turned it into a business.”
In addition to the artists performing on the stadium stage, Kettering’s student radio station WKUF 94.3 had young artists like G-S tha DreaM and Bay Bro performing original songs on a smaller stage in the vendor area.
“This is beautiful event and it’s good for the community.” said G-S tha DreaM, also known as Flint resident George Shawn McQueen.
Several people said they were excited to see the T-Pain concert but were upset to find out that it was canceled along with the rest of the festivities due to a severe weather.
“I’m mad,” T-Pain fan and Flint resident Chrishuna Marshall said. “They could’ve waited until it started raining. We don’t usually get to come to free stuff.”
All vendors, artists and guests were asked by volunteers to leave immediately following the announcement around 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
“We regret we are unable to host the T-Pain concert because of the weather, but want to ensure of safety of everyone here,” Kettering’s public relations official Jeanne Polydoris said.