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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Competition among carnivals

Tucson fourth-grader Shane Kelly climbs the rock wall at the Spring Fling carnival last Saturday afternoon.
Tucson fourth-grader Shane Kelly climbs the rock wall at the Spring Fling carnival last Saturday afternoon.

About 25,000 people attended Spring Fling this year, down 5,000 from last year’s carnival – and 15,000 short of the event organizer’s goal.

Spring Fling has been hailed as the largest by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona for years, but both Washington University in St. Louis and Middleberry College in Vermont say their annual carnivals are also “”the largest student-run carnival in the nation.””

“”Our carnival is completely student-run,”” said Alex Manuel, the 2007 Spring Fling Director. “”Other schools probably have full-time staff working their carnival, not just students.””

The UA’s Spring Fling boasted more than 3,000 student volunteers running its carnival.

“”We have about three or four hundred students directly involved in operations like ticket booths and stuff,”” Manuel said. “”But we have 3,000 or more students who participate in other things like club tents and parking.””

Manuel said about 50 student organizations participate in Spring Fling each year.

Sydney Schneider, public relations chair of the Thurtene Junior Honorary, which is responsible for Washington University’s carnival, estimated around 1,500 students will be involved in the running of the carnival this year which includes around 30 student organizations.

“”We do have an adviser for the Thurtene Honorary, but students completely plan and run the carnival themselves,”” Schneider said.

“”We have about three or four hundred students directly involved in operations like ticket booths.””
– Alex Manuel
2007 Spring Fling director

The Center for Student Involvement at Middleberry College could not provide a number of students who work at their carnival or any evidence about how they rank their carnival against other colleges around the country.

But compared to Washington’s average turnout of 120,000, UA’s Spring Fling loses out, drawing an average 30,000 people each year.

Spring Fling booths alone generated nearly $80,000 last weekend for all UA clubs that participated, roughly the same as last year’s figure.

Income from parking, ticket sales and admissions has yet to be tabulated.

“”Each year we get $190,000 in loans for Spring Fling, but I don’t know yet how much of that we actually spent and how much we made,”” Manuel said. “”We are working on our expense reports right now, which take a couple of weeks.””

Last year, after it was all said and done, Spring Fling broke even, Manuel said.

Any extra money goes back into UA club funds, he added.

Three thousand pounds of food, mostly jars of peanut butter, were also collected and donated to the community food bank this year.

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