Clara Bowl is located on the outskirts of the Ford Complex and can be seen from the front of the Berry Cottages, which sit slightly above the bowl. Although Clara Bowl appears to be nothing more than an open field, it serves a multitude of purposes for students, faculty, and visitors of Berry.


The Clara Bowl's name originated in the mid to late 1990s. However it was first referred to as "Clara Bowl" in the Campus Carrier in 1997. The name was inspired by its proximity to the Clara Dormitory, which was named after Henry Ford's daughter, Clara Ford. On September 4, 1997 a sinkhole developed. The fifty feet wide and thirty feet deep hole was discovered on the property between the log cabins and Ford Complex (Clara Bowl). The sinkhole was a natural occurrence, although it came as a shock to students. The land was most susceptible to sinkholes in early fall because of the frequent rain. George Gaddie, the dean of admissions at the time, discovered the sinkhole when he was moving office equipment. He saw the grass had turned to a brown-ish color and when he was returning he saw that the ground had sunk in. Berry College had a geologist, Richard Fountain, look at the hole. Fountain suggested they flush it with water to get rid of the loose debris and earth. The school then filled the sinkhole with rock soil and covered the hole with grass the next day (Lockman). Since the sinkhole occurance, Clara Bowl has not experienced any other natural occurances of the same magnitude.


Clara Bowl High School Invitational

One of the first events of fall, the Clara Bowl High School Invitational, is held on Clara Bowl.
The Clara Bowl filled with thousands of spectators and runner for the Clara Bowl High School Invitational this past September 8, 2012.
The race is approximately 5K, running around the Clara Bowl and nearby trails. Schools from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida participate with a total attendance of over 2000 runners, making it one of Georgia’s largest high school races. The Berry Cross Country Team undertakes most of the planning and organization required to host the race.


Marthapalooza, a Mountain Day Weekend tradition, is an event that is held in Clara Bowl. With its large open space, Clara Bowl is the perfect place on Berry's Campus to host a carnival. This space is able to sustain multiple rides, booths, games, and the thousands of visitors that attend the yearly event. Marthapalooza is held on the first weekend of October in commemoration of Martha Berry’s birthday. In preparation for the event, weeks prior to Marthapalooza, one can find fork lifts, trucks and a multitude of workers within Clara Bowl setting up carnival rides for the pending festivities. The most popular rides set up for Marthapalooza include the ferris wheel, bumper cars, a tilt-o-wheel, and other stations that provide food and refreshments, games and quick entertainment for those passing by. Clara Bowl makes Marthapalooza such a successful event year after year. Without its wide open space and easily accessible location, Marthapalooza would not be the fun successcul tradition that it is today.

KCAB Outdoor Movies

Throughout the year, movies are presented by KCAB. Of course, Clara Bowl serves as the perfect place for an outdoor movie. Students, faculty, and other visitors are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and even their cars to relax and enjoy the show. Once again, it is Clara Bowl's wide open space that provides the perfect place for such an event. Usually, these outdoor movies bring a huge crowd and allow people to interact with each other while not feeling confined to one area as they might feel in a movie theater. The movies are chosen by the Berry students through online surveys. So far this year, the movies shown have been The Avengers, Toy Story, and in lue of the holidays, How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Works Cited

"Clara Bowl." Berry Reservations. Berry College. Web. 30 Sept. 2012.

Lockman, Jennifer. "New Sinkhole found near Clara Bowl." v.89, n2. Campus Carrier4 September 1997: pg.1. Print. Berry College, Berry College Memorial Library Archives.