Celebrate HCC's Harford Fest, the 60th Anniversary at Harford Fest Oct. 28, featuring fall open house at APGFCU arena

Daylong activities include Hurd 5K Spooktacular, open house, children's activities, interactive presentations, performances, hot-air balloon rides & more.

Harford Fest, a daylong celebration of Harford Community College's 60th anniversary with activities for the whole family, takes place Saturday, October 28, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the campus at 401 Thomas Run Road in Bel Air (Directions).

The day kicks off with the Heather L. Hurd 5K Spooktacular with registration at 8 a.m. and the race at 9 a.m. The race raises funds for Remembrance Book Scholarships for Harford Community College students and brings awareness to the dangers of distracted driving to children and adults alike.

A children's area, which opens at 8 a.m., features Mickey Mouse- and Halloween-themed bounce houses, crafts, face painting, costume contest, trick or treating and more. Children will also have the opportunity to meet and have photos taken with costumed characters including Batman, princesses, IronBirds' Ferrous, Chick-fil-A Cow, Chuck E. Cheese and Harford Community College's Screech the Owl. For more information and to register for the race, visit harford.edu/heather.

Following the race at 9:30 a.m., an open house showcase of Harford Community College's academic programs and student services takes place in the APG Federal Credit Union Arena. Upon arrival, guests will receive a "passport" and will be encouraged to have it stamped and turned in to be eligible for various prizes.

Faculty and staff from all credit and continuing education programs will be on hand to share interactive presentations and to discuss opportunities for prospective students. Representatives from the Admissions, Advising and Financial Aid offices will be available to answer questions and to assist with the enrollment process. Campus tours will also be available.

Additional children's activities will include bounce houses, kite flying (weather permitting), a games area and, the 4-H Dog Club agility course.

Other activities include tethered hot air balloon rides (nominal charge and weather dependent) and an outdoor stage with performances with a variety of musical performances.

Several food trucks will be on site, including Chick-fil-A, WOLO and Kona Ice, in addition to food items offered inside the arena.

In the evening, "Stayin' Alive: The Music of the Bee Gees" will be performed at 7 p.m. in the Amoss Center. This talented tribute band captures the Bee Gees' sound with classics like "Night Fever," "How Deep Is Your Love," "Nights On Broadway," "Stayin' Alive" and more. Tickets may be purchased at http://tickets.harford.edu.

For more information about Harford Fest, call 443-412-2408 or visit harford.edu/60.

A brief history of Harford Community College

Harford Community College opened its doors in September 1957 at Bel Air High School with 119 credit students and 16 faculty members. In explaining the need at the time for a junior college in Harford County, the Board of Education said, “Excessively high costs and overcrowding at regular colleges are tending to prevent a large number of worthy Harford County youth from continuing their education beyond high school.”

Tuition for a full-time student was $7 per credit hour. The first graduating class consisted of four students. From the very beginning, not only did young people enroll at Harford, but nontraditional-aged students continued their education there as well.

The College moved to its present location in 1964 and encompassed three new buildings (Aberdeen, Bel Air and Maryland Halls), four converted buildings and one temporary building. The Board of Education purchased the site near Bel Air because it was centrally located and provided easy accessibility.

Growth continued, and in 1971 it became Harford Community College. By the time of the College's 25th anniversary in 1982, it enrolled more than 10,000 students in a variety of credit and noncredit courses and occupied a 204-acre campus. Today, the College serves nearly 9,000 credit students and more than 10,000 noncredit students. It offers more than 80 associate degree and certificate programs and more than 450 noncredit continuing education courses. And Harford Community College is one of the county’s largest employers with more than 1,000 (full-time and part-time) employees.

The College has grown in many other ways as well. Program offerings are reviewed regularly and new courses are developed to meet changing needs. Harford Community College offers programs in employee and business training, community education, and literacy.

Harford Community College has a long tradition of creating seamless transfer opportunities for its graduates. For more than 35 years, HCC has partnered with four-year institutions to create clear pathways for baccalaureate and graduate degrees. The College’s mission to support lifelong learning is evidenced in its partnership with transfer institutions. In 2013 the College partnered with Towson University to open a building on HCC’s campus where residents can earn their bachelor’s degree.

Other areas of note include the College being designated as a Center of Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security; a faculty-led honors program providing students with additional classes, scholarships, and transfer opportunities; and award-winning athletic teams.

In addition, the College offers an extensive selection of cultural programs and special events for adults and children. HCC has hosted such renowned performers over the years as The Washington Ballet, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Opera Verdi Europa, Russian American Kids Circus, Philadelphia Dance Company, National Players, the New Shanghai Circus, TheatreworksUSA, and many more.

Located on 352 acres near Bel Air, Harford Community College has been helping Harford Countians achieve their goals since 1957.