Courtesy of the Harding Bison. 

Searcy coffee shop Kibo Midnight Oil Coffee House (MO) is continuing an old tradition by having a T-shirt design contest for Harding students and the whole community. In the past, the contest has coincided with MO’s spring festival; however, the festival has been canceled the past two years because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The festival is coming back this year under the theme “Spring is Sprung”, bringing the T-shirt design contest back, as well. Midnight Oil manager and barista Annesly Pruitt explained the process of the contest.

“A couple months before the event, we promote the T-shirt contest just so we get enough applicants in by the time that we need to make the T-shirts,” Pruitt said. “That is to promote the festival and start getting people excited about the idea of a community event.”

MO’s spring festival is not just a Harding event. In fact, Pruitt takes pride in the opportunity for the whole community to participate.

“It’s a fun way for all aspects of the community to be involved,” Pruitt said. “We have local vendors, local artists, local musicians, and then when someone from the community designs a T-shirt too that just adds that extra element.”

MO is owned by the Kibo Group, named after the highest point in Africa atop Mount Kilimanjaro. The Kibo Group is a non-profit dedicated to working with communities in East Africa.

“Kibo Group is not a religious organization, but we are motivated by our creator God,” the organization wrote on their website. “Our faith in Jesus inspires us to serve the poor and the oppressed unconditionally.”

MO has been a staple of the Searcy community since 2009 and is a favorite among Harding students. Sophomore Abbey Hackett is excited to see what the T-shirt design contest produces.

“I think the contest is a great way to incorporate students’ artwork into a design that we wear all around campus,” Hackett said.T-shirt design applications opened on Monday, Jan. 24 and will stay open until Feb. 25. At that point, Pruitt will choose the best submission and hopefully have the printed shirts ready for the festival two months from now. Applications can be submitted via email to Pruitt at There have already been a few applications submitted, and Pruitt said she is confident that even more applications will come in as the weeks go by.