By Christie S. Peterson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Carnivals bring out the kids in many adults, but this year's Spring Fling student-run carnival will also be bringing out the kids in 80 local children who would not otherwise be able to attend the festivities.
Groups from Arizona Children's Home, Casa de los Niąos, Our Town Family Center and Richey Elementary School will be enjoying the rides, booths and other attractions free of cost because of a "concerted effort" by Spring Fling organizers.
Spring Fling Executive Director Matt Ochs said similar projects have taken place in the past on a smaller scale, but "this time I went out and searched for" organizations instead of waiting for them to make the initial contact.
Each child involved in the program will receive free admission as well as $25 worth of "scrip" which they can spend on rides, food, attractions and souvenirs at the carnival.
"They're going to go crazy," said Ochs. "There are lots of activities in Tucson that cost money that are a lot of fun and this is one we have control over."
Money can prevent some children from mid
participating in many things, and even non-profit organizations cannot always rectify this because they often cannot afford activities like Spring Fling. Admission this year is $4 for students over age 12 and $5 for adults, and rides can cost several dollars each.
"We really appreciate things like this," said Lisa Lynn Edgar of Our Town, which provides counseling, crisis and community services to families. "We don't have the resources to do (it ourselves)."
She said she thought the effort made by Spring Fling was more than just a public relations effort. "It's really important that students give back to the community and to kids ... (but) it's more than public relations. It's really community outreach."
The group of students from Richey Elementary are participating as a part of a continuing program with MEChA to "get people hyped on education," said MEChA member Tomás Martinez.
Martinez, a Richey graduate, said this program has exposed some of the kids to a university for the first time.
"They don't see role models every day," he said. "The kids seem extremely happy. It's because they don't see this ... and the people they do see they can't relate to. We're young Chicanos like them."
This project is part of an entire Children's Program which includes an art exhibit of 90 works by elementary and high school students and ten 32-square-foot murals painted by young students along the enterance.
Other attractions at this year's carnival include "Camelville," featuring a rare white baby camel and an "Experience Tent" sponsored by Crayola in which people can build clay structures, paint, or draw and keep their creations.
There will be entertainment provided by comedian Sandra Bernhard tonight, rappers Run DMC on Saturday and local country and Latino groups as a part of Sunday's Cultural Day.
Organizers expect 50,000 people to attend this year's festival, an increase of 15,000 over last year's numbers.
Read Next Article