200 Years in the Making!

A group of students gathered around the 1821 statue on the quad in front of the war memorial

Friday, October 15, 2021

The Bicentennial Party is a two-part event that provides an opportunity for Amherst College students, faculty and staff to celebrate this historic milestone for the College. The festivities begin with an afternoon on the Greenway that pairs food and activities inspired by life 100 years ago in New England, including seasonal treats and horse drawn wagon rides. Following a brief break for students to enjoy dinner on their own, an evening celebration will be hosted on the Main Quad to celebrate the College.

The event will feature Bicentennial-branded giveaways, carnival games and food, and a large stage constructed at the base of Memorial Hill featuring a performance by Grammy award-winning artist Common, followed by a fireworks display. Students will have an opportunity to enjoy this iconic part of campus in a unique way!

A GIF of a Mammoth in front of a ferris wheel with pumpkins in the foreground

Schedule of Events

  • 2:00 to 4:00 pm: Bicentennial Festival (Greenway Quad)
    • A menu of traditional New England fair food; old time photo opportunities; activities, including a 100-foot carnival slide, pumpkin carving and burlap sack races
  • 2:00 to 3:00 pm: Performance by Javier Colon
  • 3:00 to 4:00 pm: Performance by Kate Yeager
  • 4:00 to 5:00 pm: Break/no formal activities
  • 5:00 to 8:30 pm: Bicentennial Party (Main Quad)
    • Carnival games and food, including corn dogs, mozzarella sticks, soft serve ice cream, snow cones, cup cakes and hot chocolate
  • 5:30 to 6:30 pm: Kaleta & Super Yamba Band
  • 7:00 to 8:15 pm: Performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Common
  • 8:15 to 8:30 pm: Fireworks show immediately following Common’s performance

Campus Locations

A map of south campus with four numbers on the Greenway Quad, Main Quad, Memorial Hill and baseball field

#1 Greenway Quad

#2 Main Quad

#3 Memorial Hill

#4 Memorial Field



Bicentennial Fair: 2:00–4:00 pm

Tent #1: Smoke Haus (Wildwood BBQ & Myers)
Pulled Pork Sliders; Jackfruit Sliders (vegan); Mac N Cheese; Mac N Cheese (GF); water/seltzer

Tent #2: Grilled Cheese/Soup (Mom on the Go & Myers)
Mix of Pumpkin Butter Grilled Cheese & Traditional; New England Clam Chowder; Autumn Bisque (GF/vegan); water/seltzer

Tent #3: Apple Barn (Dining Services)
Apple Crumble (vegan/GF); Apple Cinnamon Squares; Apple Cider Donuts; Pumpkin Spice Donuts (vegan/GF); Caramel Apples; Apple Cider (mulled or cold)

Tent #4: Pumpkin Patch (Dining Services)
Pumpkin Mousse (GF); Pumpkin Cheesecake; Roasted Pumpkin Risotto (GF); water/seltzer

Tent #5: Fried Dough & Pumpkin Fries (Daddy’s Fried Dough)
Fried Dough (Cinnamon Sugar or Powdered Sugar, vegan); Pumpkin Fries (vegan/GF); water/seltzer

Tent #6: 1821 (Dining Services)
In representation of food in the 1800’s, we took a New England Boiled Dinner and separated the contents to come up with the Corned Beef but keeping the root vegetables out so they can be a Side Dish both for vegan / vegetarians and meat eaters. Boston Baked Beans are from that time as well, so we will make them the traditional way but without pork so we have a Vegan protein source.

  • Corned Beef with Cabbage; Roasted Root Vegetables—Potatoes, Turnips, Rutabagas, Parsnip, Carrots (GF/vegan); Boston Baked Beans (vegan); Brown Bread; Pull Apart Rolls (Assorted); water/seltzer

TENT #7: Penny Candy (Art of the Event)
Candy Bars

Tent #8: Kettle Corn (Giggles)
Fresh Popped Kettle Corn; Fresh Lemonade

Bicentennial Celebration: 5:00–9:00 pm

  • Custom Cake (South Heritage Hall)
    • w/ hot chocolate and marshmallows
  • Cupcakes (Pete’s Sweets) - Admissions tent
    • Chocolate; Vanilla; Vegan Chocolate; Vanilla GF
  • Trailer #1: Mozzarella Sticks and Corn Dogs (J&D Amusements)
  • Trailer #2: Soft Serve Waffle Cones, Hawaiian Ice and Cotton Candy (J&D Amusements)
  • Tent #3: Burger Sliders; Veggie Sliders and Chips (Murphy’s Mobile Food Truck)
  • Tent #4: Coffee service (Jackson Effie Coffee Cabin)


The musician Common on stage bathed in red and orange light
Common is an artist, actor, author and activist. With a storied career spanning three decades, his work has been recognized with numerous Grammy® Awards, as well as an Emmy® and an Academy® Award for the song “Glory,” which he co-wrote and performed with John Legend.

His latest album, A BEAUTIFUL REVOLUTION Part 2 was released on September 10th through Loma Vista Recordings. The album is a timely and inspiring follow up to Common’s previous album, A BEAUTIFUL REVOLUTION Pt. 1, which was released in October 2020 through Loma Vista Recordings. Pt. 1 of the album was written in 2020 during the height of the pandemic when racial and social justice protests, a contested election and economic collapse was polarizing the country. The first half of the album was written as a call to action to uplift, heal and inspire listeners dealing with these injustices. A BEAUTIFUL REVOLUTION Pt. 2 is a continuation of this call to action, but one that sees the world in a new light. The album signifies a rebirth of sorts as listeners learn to cope with and elevate from this tragedy and turmoil. They are given a chance to create a better tomorrow and a responsibility to never forget the past obstacles they have faced.

Common’s album LET LOVE was released in August 2019. The album was inspired by his work and experiences while writing his second memoir, LET LOVE HAVE THE LAST WORD, which was released May 2019. The memoir was quickly deemed a New York Times best seller in its first week of release. This book follows his first memoir, “One Day It’ll All Make sense” which was released in 2011 and was also a New York Times best seller.

Common’s 11th studio album, BLACK AMERICA AGAIN, was released November 4, 2016 on ARTium/Def Jam Recordings. The album includes socially conscious single, “Black America Again” featuring Stevie Wonder and the anthem “Letter to the Free,” the end-title track to Ava Duvernay’s powerful Oscar-Nominated documentary 13th, for which he also received the 2017 Emmy for “Best Music and Lyrics.”

For the past few years, Common has dedicated countless hours and has been deeply engaged in social justice and advocacy work around mass incarceration, mental health, and voting. Through his Common Ground Foundation, Common is dedicated to empowering high school students from underserved communities to become future leaders. The foundation operates educational programs in Chicago that focus on character development, healthy living, financial literacy, social impact, technology, and leadership.

Opening Performer

A group of seven music performers poising for the photo
Brooklyn’s Kaleta & Super Yamba Band are fronted by Afrobeat and Juju veteran Leon Ligan-Majek, a.k.a. Kaleta. The singer/guitarist from the West African country of Benin Republic lived his adolescent life in Lagos, Nigeria where Afrobeat was born. Kaleta’s guitar chops earned him decades of touring and recording with Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Lauryn Hill, and more. Kaleta got his start in the late 70s performing in church and was soon after picked up by iconic Juju master and world music pioneer King Sunny Ade. A few years later Fela Kuti came calling. Kaleta would go on to tour the world playing guitar for the King of Afrobeat in his storied band Egypt 80 through the 1980s and into the 1990s. Now based in New York City, Kaleta has been leading Super Yamba Band since 2017. Their debut album Mèdaho, which was released by California indie label Ubiquity Records, draws on the group’s shared reverence for the raw, psychedelic sounds that captivated Kaleta as a music loving kid in 1970.

Afternoon Performers

A man in a cap holding a guitar and looking away from the camera
Known for his incomparable vocal and songwriting ability and citing influences ranging from Donny Hathaway to James Taylor, Javier Colon’s “acoustic soul” style blends R&B, soul, folk and alternative rock.

Colon became the first winner of NBC’s hit reality talent show “The Voice” in 2011 and has released four albums, including Come Through for You, which charted in the Billboard Top 200 and landed in the Top 20 on the R&B/Hip Hop chart.


A woman reaching up an bracing her hand against stage lighting
Furthering the lineage of artists like Carol King, Tracey Chapman, & Janis Joplin, Kate Yeager’s lyrics & soul-infused vocals transcend stats, trends & ages. She is the next great female troubadour: energetic, bold, & leading with love. 

At the intersection of a smokey NYC jazz club & a summer camp celebration, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter channels her superpower for empathy & warmth of spirit to create an uncanny connection with her listeners.

Safety Guidelines

  • Amherst ID is required. 
  • Everyone is urged to be attentive to maintaining physical distance whenever possible and to share with one another and respect their masking preferences when they are interacting outdoors without six feet of physical distance.
  • As always, anyone who feels more comfortable wearing masks outdoors should do so.


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Amherst College Bicentennial 1821-2021 animated logo tilting back and forth
An animated birthday cake
An animated present opening