Thurtene Carnival thrills the taste buds

Annual event features facades, rides, games and a smorgasbord of decadent delights 

Junior Nils Kjos is keeper of one of the oldest traditions at one of Washington University in St. Louis’ oldest traditions. He is a fry cook at the “You Bring It, We’ll Fry It” booth at Thurtene Carnival.

For about three decades, the brothers of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity have deep-fried raw veggies, candy bars, ice cream sandwiches and almost anything carnival revelers want dunked in hot oil.

“Some things work better than others, but you’d be surprised — almost anything can go in a deep fryer,” said Kjos, who is studying English and geophysics. “Probably the weirdest thing I’ve been asked to deep-fry is a funnel cake. I tried to explain, ‘Sir, you know that a funnel cake is already deep-fried? We would literally just be deep-frying deep-fried batter.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, do it.’”

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Clement Koh and Elizabeth Chen, members of the Alpha Chi Sigma chemistry fraternity, demonstrate how to make Dippin’ Dots at Dance Marathon. The organization will demonstrate how to make the fair favorite at Thurtene. (Credit: courtesy photo)
And don’t forget the Dippin’ Dots. Chemistry fraternity Alpha Chi Sigma will both sell — and make — the perennial fair favorite.

The process actually is quite simple, said Sebastian Chung, a senior majoring in chemistry. First, members melt store-bought ice cream. Then they shake droplets through a cocktail shaker into a big metal bowl containing a small amount of liquid nitrogen.

“Liquid nitrogen boils at about minus-200 degrees Celsius, so over time, that liquid nitrogen evaporates,” Chung said. “Once it goes, you have your Dippin’ Dots.”

Sadly, the fraternity cannot sell their creamy creation. Pesky food safety regulations forbid public consumption. So Alpha Chi Sigma will sell the manufactured variety.

“We have to stick to the rules, but the only potential risk to eating your own Dippin’ Dots is freezer burn,” Chung said. “You have to give the liquid nitrogen a few moments to evaporate off. Otherwise, it’s painful. I know.”

Thurtene Carnival

When: 4-8 p.m. Friday, April 11; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, April 12; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, April 13
Where: Washington University in St. Louis (parking lot in front of Brookings Hall, on Skinker Boulevard)
How much: Free; tickets must be purchased for rides and some plays
More info: