The Irving Hill Bridge thrives with students eager to reach their designation on the other side, an attraction
luring hundreds—from KU residents to families within the community—to indulge in SUA’s annual carnival. Complete with rides such as the infamous carousel, a stage showcasing talents from KU organizations, and booths adorning faces with paint or extending information about the university’s various clubs, the showcase offers students an opportunity to become acquainted with their peers.
SUA’s attempt to increase the number of participants are fruitful—the expansion meant a greater turn out for the Saturday venue, extending the lines of stalls located outside of the Lied Center. It was one of many desires expressed by Hannah Hall, Vice President of Alumni and Community Relations for SUA and the carnival Director during the summer. “I think the turn out is going to be a little stronger because it’s during Hawk Week, so it’s been on the calendar for a while, their [students’] resident advisors and Hawk Week leaders are able to bring them to the event, and also because it’s during the beginning of the year.” Michelle Compton, Associate Director of Union Programs, also expressed similar feelings, citing innovative changes for their influx. “We love it. It’s been two years since the SUA has done a campus carnival; we used to be in Lot 90 by the Recreation Center, and we love it over here. There’s a lot more room to expand, we invited a lot of international groups, and have a lot more going on so it’s a better setup. We’re excited about this one.”
As you descend further into the carnival, at least a dozen tents catering to different attractions are incorporated during the three hour event, including a concessions stand where students and families are able to indulge in carnival food such as nachos, funnel cake, hot dogs, and slushes, for two tickets per item. Cameron, a junior wandering around the vicinity with his friends, cited the food tent as his favorite attraction. Another student in his group is Steph, a senior whom has previous experience frequenting SUA events in the past, during her freshman year at the Recreation Center. “I think it’s just good for the community because it lets students come and meet each other and bond over common interests.”
Too Tall, one of the stilt walkers entertaining students and children at the event with juggling and magic tricks, is a KU alumni who graduated in Anthropology and Sociology in 1995, starting his career as a stilt walker the following year. Though it’s his first time attending the SUA Carnival, he holds a great desire to return. “I love it, it’s so much fun. My favorite part is the fact that you get all this big community together and put on this event; you have a mixture of students and some families, it’s really cool. It’s a nice mixture of people, it’s nice to see that.”
In the distance, a second stilt walker amuses a young buy with juggling. In his eyes are mirth, and a memory that resonates within all the patrons of the carnival.
For more information surrounding the carnival, make sure to look out for Ad Astra Radio’s online article series, “Ad Astra in Review,” to hear more about the events during Hawk Week!
Photo Credit: Josh Gaston