Thurtene Attracts, Charms Crowd
In its last year in the Brookings parking lot, this weekend’s Thurtene carnival entertained an estimated 100,000 people with 14 rides, five Greek facades, and the participation of a record 37 student groups.
“This is pretty much as big as the carnival can get,” said Tim Weil, Thurtene public relations co-chair.
During the weekend, the perennially grand nature of the nation’s largest student-run carnival was complemented by innovation.
Beta Theta Pi distinguished itself in this regard with an unorthodox programming scheme: a free show in an open-air Greek-style forum. The fraternity performed a play called “Odd Odyssey” and asked for donations after each performance.
“We wanted to remain true to the spirit of Thurtene, which is for charity. If we spend a bunch of money on the fa‡ade, then we’re not going to have enough money to give to charity after paying for the construction,” said freshman Beta pledge Nolan Johnson.
Between lot space and construction costs, the fraternity spent a little over $3000, a relatively small expenditure for a Thurtene production.
On the competitive side of the carnival, Delta Gamma and Sigma Nu took home the Burmeister Cup, which is awarded annually by a faculty panel of judges for overall excellence in a fa‡ade.
Many of the student-produced shows, charging $3 or $4 for admission, sold out throughout the
This year’s Thurtene members chose to donate the proceeds from the carnival to the Make a Difference Foundation, an after-school enrichment program for children from low- to moderate-income households.
“It’s not about the check [we give the foundation], but the interaction with the kids and the publicity we’re giving them,” said Weil.
35 children from Make a Difference performed a step routine during the carnival. In addition, members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon brought in 35 to 40 children from Fanning Middle School. SAE adopted the inner-city school earlier this semester and donates approximately 100 hours per week tutoring and mentoring the children.
“A lot of these kids are very poor; they have no concept of what college is,” said SAE member Konrad Salaber, who said that he hoped the children could see “the life available to them other than dropping out of school.” Thurtene donated 100 tickets for the children, which SAE matched with an additional 100.
By Monday evening Thurtene had not yet determined how much money was raised at the carnival. Thurtene member Nimish Muni stated that the organization will not disclose this figure at any point.
In addition to the Burmeister Cup, judges awarded Tau Kappa Epsilon the award for “Best Food” with their “Harry Potter Barbecue,” and EnCouncil won the award for “Best Game” with “Robot Wars.”
Kappa Kappa Gamma and Kappa Sigma were repeat champions for “Best Production,” and Pi Beta Phi and Theta Xi repeated as winners of the Daniel J. Buckley Award for Best Construction.
Because of the construction of the new biomedical engineering building, which will consume much of the Brookings parking lot next year, Thurtene will be forced to relocate. According to Thurtene member Lindsay Phillips, the carnival will take place next year in the Athletic Complex. Phillips said that the Athletic Complex was the location for the carnival before it moved east to Brookings in 1983.
Erin Hochman contributed to this report.
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