Marthapalooza draws huge crowd

Megan Reed, Campus Carrier Editor-in-Chief

 More than 2,400 people attended the 10th annual Marthapalooza, Berry’s late-night Mountain Day carnival event, on Oct. 4, exceeding attendance from past years.

About 2,200 to 2,300 people attended last year, Cecily Crow, director of student activities, said.

Senior Ashley Swanson, the Marthapalooza event chair, said the increased attendance may have been the result of the home football game, the first home game on a Mountain Day.

“Last year, the football players couldn’t attend because they were gone [for an away game],” Swanson said. “This year we had the football players, if they wanted to come, and they were ready to celebrate because of their big win.”

                                                                                     Jason Huynh, Photojournalism Editor
Students mingle while in line for the Ferris wheel at last weekend’s Marthapalooza. 

Crow said many students also arrived at Marthapalooza later than usual because of the football game.

“Normally we have a huge line ready to come in at 10 o’clock, and we had a big line, but it wasn’t as big as normal because of the football game,” Crow said. “We had people coming in for two hours, whereas normally almost everybody would get there within the first hour.”

Mountain Day also celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, and about 8,000 parents, alumni, visitors and students attended the festivities.

“[It was] a big weekend,” Crow said.

Swanson said the event went smoothly with no major incidents, although one of the rides, the Ring of Fire, was not working.

“Unfortunately, this year one of the rides broke … so we’ve been negotiating with the ride company to give us a discount,” Crow said.

Although the event committee is still waiting on a few invoices and bills, Crow estimated that they spent around or just under $55,000. The rides alone are almost $40,000 and other costs are for booths, generators, tents and other expenses. The event makes about $12,000 to $14,000 in revenue from T-shirt and ticket sales.

The event is funded through the student activity fee, which all students pay, and Marthapalooza is the most expensive event held on campus every year.

Because Marthapalooza is such a large event, campus safety maintains a presence at the carnival to maintain order and help with any possible emergencies.

“We have campus safety on call and they’re always around to monitor and make sure people are behaving,” Swanson said. “This year, we had them actively block off the road, though. That helped because our entrance went up into the roundabout near Clara.”

A committee of students working as volunteers had been planning the event since the beginning of the spring 2014 semester. All aspects of the carnival, including rides, publicity, booths, additional volunteers and food were coordinated by students, with Crow serving as a faculty advisor.

“[The Marthapalooza committee] is one of the few things left on campus that’s not paid. I think it’s important that students know that their peers are taking the time out of their schedules,” Crow said. “This group didn’t get to experience the football game, and they chose to volunteer their time so that students could enjoy this event. I think that speaks a lot for the group, that they live, sleep, eat, breathe Marthapalooza.”

Junior Tyler Kaelin, the logistics committee chair for the event, was responsible for reserving equipment such as tents and generators, and coordinating the layout and schedule for the carnival. He was also on the committee for the 2013 Marthapalooza and said he has enjoyed the experience.

“Being a SOAR leader for the summer and telling all these freshmen that Mountain Day weekend is the best and Marthapalooza is so much fun … I get to be able to be involved in this,” Kaelin said.

Seeing people enjoy Marthapalooza, he said, is the most rewarding part of being on the committee.

“I really enjoy watching people come into the event, seeing everyone line up and knowing they’ve been waiting just as long as I have for this event to happen,” he said. “Seeing all these people come out to this event that we’ve been planning is really encouraging. It makes it all worth it.”

Applications for the 2015 Marthapalooza committee will be available in the spring. 

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