University of South Florida


Graphic says bulls family fest 2024

USF welcomes families to first-ever community festival

Family with Rocky the Bull

The University of South Florida welcomed thousands of Tampa Bay community members to the first-ever Bulls Family Fest, a unique program designed to get kids interested in higher education at a young age. From educational and cultural activities, to sports and entertainment, the free event provided a taste of the many opportunities available at USF and within the local community. Bulls Family Fest took place on Saturday, March 2, at USF’s Tampa campus. Just prior to the festival, hundreds of runners hit the pavement for the inaugural Rocky’s Run 5k.

More than 100 exhibitors participated in Bulls Family Fest, including representatives from USF colleges, departments and student organizations, as well as local businesses and community organizations. USF Athletics offered Spirit Squad photo opportunities and interactive sports games. Food trucks were on site, as well as stilt walkers from Busch Gardens and mermaids from Weeki Wachee.

Tents set up on the USF Tampa campus

The event also featured a mascot race with USF’s Rocky the Bull and several other local favorites, such as Thunderbug from the Tampa Bay Lightning, with USF President Rhea Law serving as emcee.

For a number of local children, this may be their first exposure to a higher education institution, which helps to set the stage for future interactions. 

"The Bulls Family Fest was a lot of fun and much more than I expected," said Marisa Swenson, who attended the event with her son. "There were various vendors of USF programs and area programs that I had no idea about that sparked my interest. This event helped me find my son's summer camp program. He also got to meet a real engineer who helped encourage him to keep reaching for the engineering stars."

Mascot race


President Rhea Law


Rocky 5k


“Bulls Family Fest is a celebration of the vibrant connection between the University of South Florida and the broader Tampa Bay community,” said Caryn Preston, assistant director of the Office of Youth Experiences at USF. “By opening our campus to children and families, we not only showcase the wide variety of opportunities available at USF but also foster a sense of belonging and exploration.”

As part of USF Lifelong Learning, the  Office of Youth Experiences operates under the umbrella of the newly created Office of University Community Partnerships. Youth Experiences works to connect the broader Tampa Bay community to the colleges, programs and people of USF through summer camps, field trips, community events, guest speakers, educator professional development and curriculum support. 

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