Thurtene Carnival expected to draw more than 120,000

On April 12, nearly 50 student organizations will take over the Athletic Complex parking lot in preparation for Thurtene Carnival, the University’s oldest tradition, dating back to 1904.

Thurtene Carnival 2004, themed “Cause For Celebration,” will be from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. April 17-18. It marks the continuation of the nation’s oldest and largest student-run carnival.

The event is presented by members of Thurtene Honorary, 13 juniors who bear responsibility for the continuation of the tradition.

The carnival began to be organized in 1904. The first “Younivee Surrkuss,” Thurtene’s predecessor, was held in 1907. The seven-hour festival ran much like a real circus and featured sideshows and a main attraction.

General admission was 10 cents, sideshows were a nickel and proceeds were donated to the Athletic Association. A crowd of 400 made the event a roaring success.

Nearly a century later, Thurtene Carnival still bears a resemblance to its ancestor. However, the “Big Top” has been replaced by sturdily constructed facades, and the crowd of 400 has swelled to a two-day throng of more than 120,000.

Eight themed facades, designed and constructed by students, will house this year’s student-performed plays. Other Thurtene traditions will continue, including 18 major rides, 16 game booths and 15 booths serving an array of food.

There is no admission fee, although tickets must be purchased for rides and plays.

Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Youth In Need, a local charity. Since its founding in 1974, the vision of Youth In Need has been the same: to be the leader and driving force in making children’s healthy development and well-being the community’s highest priority, particularly for those who face adversity.

The week preceding the carnival, affectionately dubbed “Lot Week,” receives recognition from the state of Missouri through an official declaration from the governor as “Thurtene Carnival Week.” The week includes students working around the clock to raise facades and practice plays.

As always, the Thurtene Honorary will present awards at the conclusion of the carnival for best production, the Buckley award for best construction of a facade, best food and best game booth. Also to be awarded are the prestigious Chancellor’s Charity Cup, for the highest donation to charity, and the most-coveted Bur-meister Cup, for best overall participation in the carnival.

Ackerman Toyota is the official corporate sponsor of this year’s carnival.

Members of Thurtene Junior Honorary 2004 are: Kevin Rollag, Stacey Cutler, Seth Locke, Andrew Halket, Zoey Glick, David Hill, Ozzie Goodwin III, Jessica Long, Lauren Harte, David Hinderaker, Zack Friedman, Trecia Buckner and Stephanie Taylor.

Jim Burmeister, executive director of University relations and Commencement, continues his longstanding role as Thurtene’s adviser.

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