In a season known for red, brown and orange colors, the College of Staten Island’s second annual Fall Festival captured the essence of pink and green yesterday.

Geared toward kicking off the season and National Breast Center Awareness Month, the event also boasted the concept of saving energy.

Held within the spacious Sports & Recreation Center on the grounds of the Willowbrook campus between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., all attendees were provided with entertainment, regardless of age.

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As children focused on painting pumpkins, gathering up cupcakes and jumping around in large inflatable bouncy toys during the festival, adults examined items the 50 vendors were offering, such as various baked goods, handmade jewelry, and Halloween and Christmas decorative arrangements.

However, the goal was to raise money for the college’s Staten Island Breast Cancer Research Initiative and its educational outreach program. All vendors provided a donation to do business and many of the nearly 5,000 attendees assisted.

Though last year’s event had 10,000 participants, last year’s event netted $8,000. Despite less people yesterday, the festival took in $20,000, said Erika Hellstrom, director of development and the CSI Foundation.

She said an increased number of vendors and extra sponsorship helped boost the total.

Clad in pink shirts, Dr. Donna Gerstle Mrs. Hellstrom discussed the event’s significance.

“This is the perfect demonstration of the community coming together,” said Ms. Hellstrom.

Dr. Gerstle — director of the Initiative as well as the Center of Environmental Science at the college — said raising breast cancer awareness is vital, especially for the younger crowd.

Her organization’s table at the event was decorated in pink, with matching scarves for sale donated from women across America. T-shirts and bracelets were also available.

“The way that people came here today means so much to us,” Dr. Gerstle exclaimed.

Thirteen-year-old Suriah Iqbal, visiting from Queens with her grandmother, was fond of the event.

“You’re doing all this fun stuff for a good cause,” she said. “It really helps.”

Louise Barraco, 43, of Westerleigh, said her 4-year-old daughter Lauren loved painting pumpkins and taking part in other Halloween crafts.

“She’s having fun,” Mrs. Barraco said. “She doesn’t want to leave.”

Originally planned for CSI’s Great Lawn, the event was in the Recreation Center due to rain.

By Mark D. Stein
This story appeared in the Staten Island Advance and on October 3, 2009. It is reprinted on CSI Today with permission.

CSI hosts second annual Fall Fest to benefit the Staten Island Breast Cancer Research Initiative.