Experience Rexburg was hosted September 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by a community/student football game. There were games and booths giving out stress balls, pens and paper, among other things.
“I think it’s just fun to get free stuff,” said Adam Fullmer, a sophomore studying automotive technology management.
There were several opportunities to get free things at Experience Rexburg. Some of the samples that attendees could get were hot chocolate, honey or a number of other items. There were food booths that sold churros, exhibits from bridal boutiques, games like cornhole and even missionaries giving out copies of the Book of Mormon.
“The whole idea is to bring the students and the local people down here and have some fun … and just do something that would bring the community together,” said Jerry Merrill, the mayor of Rexburg.
Looking around, there were people with smiles on their faces, kids playing and community members and college students climbing the rock wall or hitting the dunk tank.
Fullmer liked the idea of Experience Rexburg and said, “I think it’s been really cool that everyone gets out and interacts with everyone and gets to know the community.”
One of the main reasons the city partnered with BYU-Idaho to start Experience Rexburg was to give students the opportunity to see what Rexburg has for them.
“There’s so much this college town has to offer the students of BYU-Idaho, and they get to come experience it,” said Brett Sampson, the Public Affairs Director for BYU-I. “They get to come sample it, get coupons and prizes and giveaways and hopefully play in the football game, or at least watch.”
The Football Game
“(The football game) hearkens back to the days when a lot of the local people used to come to the BYU-Idaho stadium and enjoy a Saturday afternoon football game with a nationally ranked team,” Merrill said. “People loved that, so we just thought that it would be awesome to be able to get people to come back to the stadium and enjoy a good Saturday afternoon football game. So we thought, ‘let’s have a flag football game.‘”
The city’s goal with the game is to bring the community and the students closer together. The two teams that played were the Blue Bombers and the Yellow Jackets. Each team had its share of locals and college students. The Yellow Jackets ended up taking home the win with an ending score of 18-17.
Jackie Rawlins, the city’s cultural arts director and events planner, said she is most excited “to see the different communities come together (and) make friendships.”
“I think this is the way that we could bring people with different backgrounds together. I think this is the start,” Rawlins said.
Some people see the benefit of having a community/student football game because they believe it will help the two groups be one.
“It helps because even if people don’t want to play, they can still be here, and it’s about being together,”said Habeebah Lindsay, a junior studying psychology. “So, if everyone is here and gathers, we’re all having a good time.”
The city wants to have Experience Rexburg every year with a football game following. They hope there will be enough teams in years to come so they can have a tournament.