By Kaila Wyman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday Mar. 21, 2002
With Spring Fling 2002 only weeks away, the Spring Fling committee is pushing to increase the turnout for the annual student-run carnival.
Organizers of the April 11-14 event are hoping to rebound from last year, when Spring Fling dropped in attendance from 45,000 to 25,000 people.
Likely causes of low turnout were a lack of advertisement and poor temperatures and rain.
The goal of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Spring Fling committee is to bring the number of Spring Fling attendees back up to 45,000 people, mainly through advertisement, said Chris Molessa - executive director of Spring Fling - at last night's ASUA meeting.
Marketing strategies increased five times from last year's, through more than 200 television commercials, more than 500 radio commercials and 1,000 posters.
The Spring Fling committee has coordinated with PepsiCo Inc. in a Pepsi wristband giveaway around Tucson.
One wristband will be placed in each of 170 Pepsi vending machines across Tucson and will be dispensed when people purchase a Pepsi product. Wristbands can be redeemed on the specified all-you-can-ride wristband night. Non-wristband winners can purchase one for $18 and can receive a $3 discount with specially marked Mountain Dew cans.
"The committee has been busy raising over $125,000 in cash and other donations," said Allison Jones, ASUA senator.
The Mega Drop-plug, a ride which plummets 12 stories at more than 70 mph, will also premier in Tucson at Spring Fling.
Local bands are expected to play every day, focusing on four different types of music: pop, hip-hop, country and mariachi.
A Kids' Kingdom will premier as a separate carnival for children that is similar to last year's Kids' Expo, Molessa said.
Tucson-area students will also be able to participate in the Read-to-Ride promotion, where they can read a book and write a report in exchange for three free ride passes, he said.
"It is so much fun because all the students are there, especially on college night," Jones said. "And it's so cute to see the little kids get so excited when they win prizes."
More than 3,000 students in 60 different clubs and organizations are expected to participate this year in Spring Fling at the Rillito Downs racetrack, 4502 N. First Ave.
Spring Fling, which began in 1974, moved from the UA Mall to Rillito Downs in 2000. More than 80 booths and 15 rides that make up the carnival. General admission is $2 and students can get free admission with a CatCard. Ride tickets are 50 cents each and can be purchased in a 21 pack for $10.
A pre-sale $10 book that includes two admission passes and 20 tickets can be purchased every weekend prior to the start of Spring Fling at promotional sites such as the Tucson Mall and Park Place Mall.