By Amanda Riddle
Arizona Daily Wildcat April 3, 1997
Carnival gates 'fling' open todayStarting today at 4 p.m., UA students and the Tucson community will be able to feast on food and drink sold by campus organizations, lose their stomachs on 26 rides and groove to local bands over the next four days.
The focus of this year's carnival, which runs today through Sunday on the McKale Lawn, is the University of Arizona students, said Keith Henson, Spring Fling's executive director.
"We are keeping the carnival right for the students. We want everybody to attend and now it is affordable with Student Paks," he said.
Student Paks are a new admission package offered to UA students only. For $15, students are given admission, 20 scrip tickets, worth $10, and two ride coupons at a savings of $7 to $10. The paks can be purchased in the Memorial and Park student unions.
This year, Pocket Money can be used to purchase the paks, admission and scrip at the carnival, said Elizabeth Millunchick, Spring Fling's marketing director.
Tonight, patrons can use wristbands purchased at the gate for $18 or $15 in advance at Fry's Food and Drug stores. The price of the wristbands includes admission, which is $4 for students and $5 for non-students, and unlimited rides.
Rides cost anywhere from three to seven scrip, or in monetary terms, $1.50 to $3.50, Millunchick said.
In addition to the wristbands, Fry's is also the exclusive pre-sale outlet for admission tickets and Family Paks, which are similar to the Student Pak and provide a savings of $25. Students receive a $1 discount off admission tickets purchased in advance at Fry's, Millunchick said.
As one of three main corporate sponsors of Spring Fling, Fry's provides $5,000 in media promotion for the carnival in return for being the exclusive pre-sale outlet, said Jennifer Stafford, Fry's special events coordinator.
Fry's dedicates the last 10 seconds of their 30-second radio commercials to promote Spring Fling and dedicates space in their weekly newspaper advertisements to the carnival, Stafford said.
She said the partnership between Fry's and Spring Fling started in 1995 and benefits Fry's because it brings heavier traffic into its Tucson stores.
It also lets the community know that Fry's is involved in the community, Stafford said.
She said working with the students who volunteer for Spring Fling is the same as working with executives from any company, except that it is difficult to work with different students from year to year because of their lack of background and previous experience with the event.
"Keith Henson is wonderful, but we have had three different students work on the day-to-day stuff in the last three years and that makes it a little tough," Stafford said.
Millunchick said there is no way for Spring Fling to get around that because of the nature of the event. Spring Fling, run solely by students, is the largest student-run carnival and largest campus carnival in the United States. It is also the eighth largest event held in Tucson.
In addition to Fry's, Spring Fling has a corporate sponsorship with Kalil Bottling Co., its exclusive beverage provider, and Domino's Pizza, its exclusive pizza provider.
Karen Hively, media and promotions director for Kalil, said next to the Mariachi Festival and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, Spring Fling and the Pima County Fair are the biggest Tucson events that Kalil sponsors.
"Spring Fling is a key image place to be and associate yourself with," Hively said.
Kalil's $5,500 contract with Spring Fling allows it to be the exclusive beverage provider in return for providing advertising for the event.
Ray Cammack Shows, the ride company that has provided the rides and commercial games at Spring Fling for the last 12 years, also bids for Spring Fling's contract because of the opportunity for publicity, said Tony Fiori, director of marketing for RCS.
"There is a tremendous demographic area here of 18- to 35-year-olds. It has gotten to be great publicity for the company. The event itself is a great event and it is for a good cause," Fiori said.
The carnival is a non-profit organization started 23 years ago by the Associated Students as a way for UA clubs and organizations to raise money.
Fiori said the ride company gives Spring Fling a percentage of its ride grosses for the four-day event, but the company does not make a profit.
"It works well into our scheduling because of the Pima County Fair," he said.
Unlike Stafford, Fiori did not have any problems working with the Spring Fling volunteers.
"It is invigorating to come here. The students are excited. They are eager to try fresh ideas and eager to learn. It is not always that way in corporate America," Fiori said.
For the past seven years, the carnival has spent more money than it has generated in revenues, and rollover money from the ASUA budget covered the losses, said Gail Tanner, ASUA's accountant.
Henson said that if the revenues generated from the carnival this year surpass the amount it spends, the money will go either to Spring Fling's budget next year or to ASUA.
$15 for one student admission, $10 in scrip and two rides. Available at the Memorial and Park student unions. UA students only.
Free parking today and Friday in all UA lots starting at 3 p.m.