Walking into the carnival, the chatter of hundreds of students and families is mixed with the hum of machines running. The sparkling lights and low din lent an inviting atmosphere to the young, energetic crowd. Saturday Oct. 14, for the last day of homecoming, UMBC held a carnival on Erickson Field, with rides and games for all ages. The carnival was the culmination of homecoming week, and one of its most popular events.
“I expected much less than what was given, because all of the rides were fun, felt safe, and the lines were beautiful because there weren’t any,” said Isabel Rayner, a freshman biochemistry major.
Hundreds of students attended the event throughout the day. Admission to the carnival was free, but there was a $5 flat fee to access all of the rides. Main attractions included a large drop tower, an alien-themed gravitron and a rainbow ride. The lines were full, but moved quickly. If patrons did not like rides, there were also obstacle courses as well as many games to keep busy. The games were free to play and very popular. Basketball was a common choice, as was a water gun game.
“Backyard games like corn hole and ladder toss are a really fun way to get outside and play a simple game,” said Rayner.
The sizzler, a ride that propels students around a central pole, was one of the day’s most popular rides.
“My favorite ride was the sizzler, but it was the free carnival games that really took the cake!” exclaimed Viviana Angelini, a freshman global studies major.
Food was taken care of by a variety of food trucks with a few different options that kept patrons interested. The food held an interesting range of styles rather than solely traditional carnival food. Options included smoothies, ice cream, hamburgers, Korean and Greek cuisine. Organizers handed out free cotton candy, making many students happy. An alumni tent was available all day for graduates to receive free shirts and other souvenirs. The tent also included a bar for those with valid identification.
Towards the beginning of the day, carnival-goers enjoyed a small petting zoo, as well as large prizes and face painting. Many families came with small children, an unlikely atmosphere for a college carnival. However, it showcased campus’s active role in the surrounding community in allowing students to include their families in the festivities. As the day went on, some attractions such as the petting zoo and select carnival games were retired, but the rides stayed active the entire day.
“I wish there had been a ride where we go upside down though,” Angelini commented, echoing the sentiment of many students who longed for more thrill.
The carnival was available from 12-9 P.M., allowing plenty of time for students to visit. Students that purchased the $5 ride pass received a wristband, allowing them to leave and come back for rides later in the day. Between the variety of activities at the carnival and the men’s soccer game, students were able to enjoy their last day of homecoming in whatever way they chose.