Kim Hopkin ‘19
Last Thursday evening, approximately 130 members of the class of 2019 gathered at a bonfire at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains to celebrate friendships, kick off the start of graduation festivities, and, of course, eat s’mores.
Organized by Julia Wahl ’19 and Robbie Pomeroy ’19, the 3L bonfire was an exceptionally smooth event, all things considered. Tickets were sold for the reasonable price of $10 and covered transportation, food, and beverages. Bus pick-up and drop-off was staggered among three shifts: green, yellow, and red. This did mean that the green and red ticketed groups had only about ten minutes with each other at the bonfire, but a little planning when buying tickets ensured you could still catch everyone by going on the yellow bus. Perhaps for this reason, yellow bus tickets sold out first.
The night of the event, the buses headed toward the bonfire were delayed due to a traffic accident. Fortunately, a timely email sent to all those who purchased tickets helped keep the start of the evening relatively seamless. The bus ride took about twenty minutes, and for at least one of the red buses, it was (as the kids say) “lit.” Christopher Macomber ’19 described the yellow bus as “not bad at all—why? What happened on the other buses?”
When we arrived at the destination, it was a short yet perilous walk to reach the bonfire. One source said, “Maggie Echols [’19] tripped over a log. I heard she didn’t get up for a while.” This reporter was unable to personally verify this fact, but since said reporter also tripped over one of the two full trees laying at knee level across the unlighted path, it seems reasonable. Alison Malkowski ’19, another Law Weekly reporter on the scene, was able to verify that a rumor was indeed started to that effect, and also that she was told her repeated calls of “LOG!” were “unhelpful.”
Chicken, green beans, and mac n’ cheese from Waysides, as well as a s’mores station, greeted those who arrived at the bonfire safely. In true law student fashion, this was accompanied by a thoughtful selection of kegs: two beer and one cider. Many students reportedly got their fill, including Kat Collins ’19 and Dave Gremling ’19. Collins was extremely happy about the food selection for the evening saying, “Wayside doesn’t get the acclaim it deserves.” However, Gremling noted “a lack of drummies – which are the ideal handheld option.” Perhaps this is why Gremling could be seen stealing food off Collins’s plate throughout the evening.
Although the night was unseasonably warm compared to the rest of the week, the environment was comfortable and fun. The beer stayed cold, the food was definitely delicious, and the fire stayed crackling thanks to the mysterious volunteer fire-tender who emerged from the woods unsolicited, threw wood into the flames for three hours, and then insisted on a ride back because he “is a law student.” While it was difficult to get close enough to the fire to roast marshmallows without burning yourself, several experienced students stepped up so that gooey s’more goodness could be widely enjoyed.
Since the fire provided all of the light and heat, some students complained that they couldn’t see anything or anyone. Nicole Llinares ’19 summed it up perfectly when she said, “The lighting was non-existent. I had a hard time identifying people so I had to spend the whole time talking to the same three people I always talk to, and I didn’t get seconds on the potato salad because I couldn’t find the plates, forks, or potato salad.” However, Macomber, one of Llinares’s three friends, said, “It was so dark I couldn’t see my friends. Then I realized I didn’t have any friends there. So that all balanced out. The s’mores were a nice touch.” Llinares is seeking the identity of the person she met at the bonfire so that she can have a fourth friend. Other than increasing social circles, the darkness also made drinking the pure beer foam that came out of the empty kegs go down easier, so some sources count the lack of light as a win. As Malkowski put it, “I definitely told a lot of people they should go for ‘the views’ and realize now that the event was at night and also in the woods. That said, I have no regrets other than not making more Blair Witch Project jokes.”
The atmosphere of the bonfire was relaxing and friendly. It even included a recitation of “Happy Birthday” for our very own Editor-in-Chief, Jansen VanderMeulen ’19. His heartfelt response was “It’s not my birthday…?” In the words of Pomeroy, “It was so great to see so many people from different corners of our class come together. It was a beautiful night to sit by the bonfire, eat s’mores, and reconnect with everyone.” I can personally echo those statements since I ran into friends from 1L year who I had not been lucky enough to catch up with recently.
All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend a Thursday night with friends—without having to brave the undergrads at the Corner. Personally, I could have done without the antiphonal singing on the bus ride back, when one brave soul decided that being out of range of the radio signal wasn’t going to dampen his ability to party, but it was quite festive. 10/10, would bonfire again.
 Eds. Note: It was more of a medium-sized campfire rather than a bonfire, but no one goes to celebratory medium-sized campfire rallies, so we don’t blame the organizers for exaggerating.