Easter didn't keep folks from 'Fling'

By Dana Crudo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, April 12, 2004

Despite bad weather and the Easter holiday, Spring Fling coordinators said the carnival was a success.

Although there were no official attendance records as of late last night, Lindsay Urbank, Spring Fling director, said the Easter weekend did not keep people away from the event, which is touted as the largest student-run carnival in the country.

Preliminary numbers suggest this year's Spring Fling attendance rivaled last year's attendance of just under 30,000. Organizers set their attendance goal at 25,000 this year.

On some nights, the attendance broke last year's numbers by four digits, Urbank said.

But the 30th annual carnival still had its fair share of problems.

On Thursday, the automatic teller machines were out of order because they weren't receiving a wireless signal.

It was frustrating, Urbank said.

People were given passes that allowed them to re-enter the carnival to get money from an outside ATM. The problem was fixed by Friday.

Urbank said while problems come up every year, everything was taken care of quickly this year.

Spring Fling also closed early on Saturday when people stopped coming because of the cold weather.

"We were doing great in the beginning," Urbank said. "People don't want to be out when it is cold, though."

But she said she was glad the carnival ended early because as soon as the gates were closed, the rain started falling.

"It saved us time and energy that wasn't needed," Urbank said.

Rob Wild, a physics senior, worked in a booth run by the recycling club this weekend. He said, despite the bad weather, the club received more recycling donations on Saturday than on Thursday and Friday combined.

Although Spring Fling fell on Easter, Urbank said preliminary numbers suggest the same number of people attended the carnival yesterday as they did on Sunday last year.

Emily Kara, an environmental science senior, said the holiday helped because Spring Fling was something families could do together.

"It's been pretty busy all day," she said.

But students at Spring Fling said the people attending were members of the Tucson community and not students from the UA.

"Maybe if it was on campus, more students would come," said Katie Watkins, a pre-nursing freshman. "It is so far away."

Wild said he also noticed that the majority of attendees were high school students or families.

"It's the trend now since it's not on campus," he said. "It's now something the community takes part of."

But Urbank said although she could not get official numbers last night, it looked as if student attendance was up this year.

"I am happy about it," she said.

Tricia Domschke, Spring Fling public relations officer, said having more community members attend is not a problem.

"We want people from the community to come," she said.

She said it may have seemed like more residents attended because they live here while students had to go home for the weekend.

But she said there were still a lot of students on Thursday and Friday.

Spring Fling, which was started in 1975 to raise money for clubs and organizations, has a budget of $195,000.