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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Spring Fling: The history of the largest student run carnival in the country

The flashing rides and big Ferris wheel of the annual Spring Fling carnival are back on the UA Mall this week for the 42nd time. Rides, games, food booths and live performances are all scheduled to continue one of the university’s favorite traditions.

Spring Fling is still rallying support for UA clubs and bringing the broader Tucson community together. Spring Fling was started in 1974 by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona in partnership with the Arizona Alumni Association. It was intended to provide clubs the opportunity for creative fundraisers and this result has been drawing huge crowds every year since.

The carnival is the UA’s largest club fundraiser and one of the few UA events that is entirely student run. Touted as the largest student-run carnival in the country, ASUA has a team of eight directors who organize the event. They partner with UA clubs and student organizations who apply to run game or food booths. Forty student clubs are participating this year and there will be over 40 rides and games.

Spring Fling was originally held on Bear Down Field and expanded to the UA Mall as more rides, attractions and booths were brought in each year. The event was held off campus at Rillito Downs racetrack for a number of years, a side effect of the construction of the Manuel Pacheco Integrated Learning Center.

The move was always intended to be temporary, however it was not until the festival’s 40th anniversary in 2014 that Spring Fling was brought back to the UA Mall.

“UA is a central part of the Tucson community and it is great to see the support,” said Aaron Aguirre, marketing major and Spring Fling programming director.

Spring Fling has clasically featured local bands and school groups that have shared the stage with national icons. No Doubt and the Smithereens were the Friday night headliners of Spring Fling in 1992.

The Los Angeles-based duo, The Score, will be performing Friday at 7:30 p.m. this year, and Amplified A Cappella, the UA’s newest coed a cappella group, will also be among the musical guests, performing at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Spring Fling reached out to the community for sponsorship in recent years. Coca-Cola, Geico, Papa John’s and FMI rentals are some of the sponsors this year. Grecycle, a local business, also partnered with Spring Fling to collect used cooking oil from the event’s food booths. The company will then convert it into biodiesel, which will help fuel CatTran shuttles as part of a greater sustainability effort.

Spring Fling raised over $60,000 for UA clubs in 2013. ASUA hopes this year will yield similar results.

The event not only fundraises for clubs, it also gives back to the community. Wristbands will be $5 off on Friday with the donation of four non-perishables for the community food bank. Admission is free on Sunday with the donation of two children’s books for the Reading Seed or with a recyclable Coca-Cola product.

Follow Brice Lennon on Twitter.

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