On Thursday evening, College Night drew scores of students to Broadway for a night of excitement.

The biannual event, sponsored by the University’s Office of New Haven Relationships and Yale Properties, showcases the Broadway shopping district’s “The Shops at Yale.” Retail and dining shops offered scores of free food to entice students to make a round around the block. In many ways, it seemed to work.

“I came for free food and to explore Broadway a bit more,” said Victoria Stevens ’22, halfway through her cone of Ashley’s ice cream.

A line hugged the wall of local ice cream parlour Ashley’s, where students awaited a free scoop of ice cream promised to students as part of the festivities throughout the evening. Many in line came dressed in layers to reconcile the day’s overcast weather with their cravings for a frozen dessert. By the end of the night, students had left their mark. Ashley’s employee Sofia Ting pegged the number of scoops handed out to students over the course of the evening at around 1,500.

Just a little down York Street, Donut Crazy store manager Cody Denzel estimated that the store would donate around 1,300 glazed donuts to students. Denzel, who had worked at last year’s College Night as well, estimated that the store would run out of Donuts within the first half of the event. Earlier in the evening, store employees had prepared for the soon-to-be-arriving swarms — filling the shelves of industrial shelf-carts with sheets of glazed donuts.

Denzel described College Night as an opportunity for the store to market the establishment’s classic donut to an important segment of their clientele — students of the Yale community and beyond.

Stevens and fellow Yalie Kevin Rono ’22 visited the festivities with friends. In an interview with the News, Rono admitted that he was drawn to the event because of the advertised promises of food.

“A lot of my friends wanted to [come], and so it was a group thing,” said Rono.

Stevens and Rono both voiced their satisfaction with the event’s inclusion of students beyond the Yale community. The event, while marketed heavily towards Yale students beforehand, also attracted students from nearby universities, such as Southern Connecticut State University, University of New Haven and Quinnipiac University.

On Broadway, vendor’s offered discounts and giveaways to attract passing customers. Retailer Urban Outfitters offered Tropical smoothies to entering students, while nearby Campus Customs offered students the opportunity to win discounts and merchandise through a spin-the-wheel activity.

Those who took advantage of sales and spent a minimum of $20 at any of the participating retailers earned a shot at the event’s raffle, which featured prizes such as gift cards and an iPad.

On Broadway Island, local theater venue, the Shubert Theatre, advertised its student Rush Ticket deal and volunteer opportunities. The Rush Ticket option allows students to purchase tickets two hours before the start of a show at half price, explained Director of Education and Outreach Initiatives for the Shubert Kelly Wuzzardo.

The Shops at Yale will host the fourth annual New Haven Chalk Art Festival on Oct. 19.

Emiliano Gomez | emiliano.gomez@yale.edu