Both Homecoming and Winterfest have a surprising stigma surrounding them

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Homecoming and Winterfest have long had a variety of attributes that set them apart from one another. For many students, the appeal of Homecoming branches from all the bells and whistles—ranging from the addition of the Ranger Rumble to the Friday night football game.

For sophomore Rylie Beatty, the choice to skip-out on Winterfest her freshman year was one easily made.

“[I never ended up going to Winterfest last year because] I didn’t really want to go,” Rylie said. “[This year] I already have plans just to hang out with my friends [instead of going to the dance.]”

One reason for the lack of attendance to the Winterfest dance compared to Homecoming may be communication; Winterfest isn’t as advertised and as celebrated as Homecoming, it almost makes sense that there would be more students making the choice to only attend one dance over the other.

“I feel like the school and student council put more work towards Homecoming just to make it a much bigger deal,” Rylie said. “I feel like there’s more effort put into it because it’s the beginning of the year and [the school and the student council] want us to be excited about the new school year. I feel like if more attention was brought [to Winterfest] that more people would go because I know that fewer people go to Winterfest.”

Contrary to a large population at FHC, senior Olivia Dibenedetto prefers Winterfest to Homecoming. But she is also able to see how the dance may be at the bottom of other students’ to-do lists.

“[I like] Winterfest just because I think the ambiance is better,” Olivia admits. “It’s later in the school year so everyone has had the chance to get into the rhythm of it all. I am sure there might be reasons for why one is more attended than the other. [For example] Winterfest is during the cold and [often] the snow so pictures can be difficult to do, outside at least, and most girls wear dresses so they’ve got to be a little chilly.” 

Unlike Rylie, sophomore Anna Moody attended both dances her freshman year.

For Anna, the anticipation of Homecoming is too much to miss out on, but Winterfest is a tradition she doesn’t want to give up either.

“I like Homecoming better than Winterfest because more people show up,” Anna said. “[I also enjoy that] there is a football game that goes along with it and it’s usually just a lot more exciting. There’s usually going to be more people [at Homecoming].”

I like Homecoming better than Winterfest because more people show up,” Anna said. “[I also enjoy that] there is a football game that goes along with it and it’s usually just a lot more exciting. There’s usually going to be more people [at Homecoming].”

— Anna Moody

In her experience, the appeal of Homecoming stems from the stigma surrounding the dance. She feels that Homecoming is more official than Winterfest.

“I almost feel like it’s more normal to go to Homecoming,” Anna admits. “Winterfest is just like an extra fun thing to do. I don’t think many people show up to Winterfest because it’s seen as more chill. For Homecoming, it seems like you have the whole week and the football game to celebrate the entire thing.”

Along with this, Anna noticed a monumental difference in her planning before and after the dance for Homecoming rather than Winterfest. Whether this be the change of the seasons or the celebration of the dances, she could tell that her friends were much more enthusiastic about the Homecoming dance. 

“I think it’s almost because the start of the new [school] year,” Anna said. “A lot of people have a new group of friends and everybody wants to do all these different things and take all these different photos. For Winterfest, I feel like it’s just ‘hey, let’s just go out to dinner’ or something like that.”

Anna also notices her friend’s excitement relies on the activities that come along with Homecoming. 

“For Homecoming, you have the football game and lots of assemblies—you have a whole week dedicated to it,” Anna said. “I definitely feel like it’s more exciting and that’s why more people are always going to go.”