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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA catches Spring Fling fever

Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

The grounds of Spring Fling at Rillito Downs awaits the crowds expected to attend when it opens this Thursday through Sunday. The event, which is the largest student run carnival in the country, serves as a fundraiser for ASUA and campus clubs.
Lisa Beth Earle
Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat The grounds of Spring Fling at Rillito Downs awaits the crowds expected to attend when it opens this Thursday through Sunday. The event, which is the largest student run carnival in the country, serves as a fundraiser for ASUA and campus clubs.

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up, it’s time for Spring Fling.

Spring Fling, the nation’s largest student-run carnival, according to the event’s Web site, will be held tomorrow until April 11 at Rillito Downs on First Avenue and River Road.

The carnival is an Associated Students of the University of Arizona event and serves as a major fundraiser for UA clubs and associations.

“”This is a huge fundraiser,”” said Lexy Keffeler, Spring Fling executive director. “”A lot of clubs on campus rely on Spring Fling funding for their everyday practices. Plus it’s a lot of fun and a lot of clubs use it as an opportunity for their members to bond.””

Keffeler, who has worked for Spring Fling in various capacities for the past four years, estimated that approximately 23,000 people were expected to attend the four-day event, with one-third of those expected to be UA students.

“”This year, we’ve really tried to gear it more towards UA students,”” Keffeler said. “”I don’t think a lot of students realize how big of a fundraiser this is for clubs on campus, and that’s important. We want clubs to make money.””

Spring Fling operates on the power of volunteers, usually members of the clubs at the event. Some volunteers, though, are involved for other reasons.

“”My roommate is involved with ASUA, so that’s how I found out about it,”” said sociology senior Rachel Bushell. “”It sounded like it could be fun, so I decided to help her out.””

Bushell is a member of the street team, a collection of 16 UA students who go out into the community to spread the word about the event.

Her roommate, interdisciplinary studies junior Deanna Mariner, is the event’s community relations director. This is her third year volunteering for Spring Fling.

“”I started my freshman year with my sorority (Alpha Phi Omega),”” Mariner said. “”I had a lot of fun so I decided to do it again.””

Mariner, who was recently elected as an ASUA senator for the upcoming academic year, said she applied to be a director to help promote the event and increase participation.

“”My job is great,”” Mariner said. “”Though I’m not technically involved with the event itself, it’s great being able to go out into the community and speak to elementary schools and high schools and try to get more people to come.””

More than 45 clubs, fraternities and sororities will be running food and game booths at Spring Fling. Keffeler estimates clubs will make between $500 and $3,500 for their participation in the event.

“”It really depends on the club, what they’re offering and how much they get out there,”” Keffeler said.

Admission to the event is $5 for the general public, but free to UA students and faculty with a CatCard. Tickets for rides, food and games are not covered by admission, but there are several days with special promotions to lower the cost.

On Thursday and Friday, attendees can purchase wristbands, which give them access to unlimited rides for the duration of the day. Wristbands are normally $20, but are only $15 with the donation of four canned food items. Wristbands are not offered Saturday or Sunday.

ASUA is also providing a free shuttle running to and from Old Main all four days of the event.

“”I’m so shocked more people don’t go,”” said history sophomore Brittany Steinke, who is the assistant director of public relations for Spring Fling. “”I mean, it’s a great first date idea, do the whole Ferris wheel thing, be romantic. It’s always a ton of fun.””

 

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