More than 120,000 people from the St. Louis area are expected to attend the annual Thurtene Carnival from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. April 16-17.
This year's theme is "Dream Big: Live the Magic!"
Proceeds from the event, the oldest and largest student-run carnival in the nation, will benefit Lift for Life, a nonprofit organization that provides St. Louis City at-risk children with the tools to develop their character, intellect and ambition through innovative, individualized educational and recreational programs.
"This year's carnival has the participation of more student groups than ever before," said Katie Greenbaum, public relations chair of this year's Thurtene Junior Honorary.
"With seven student productions, 18 rides and multiple food and games booths, the carnival will be sure to provide something for everyone.
"In addition, we have many more performances on the main stage, including one from the children from Lift for Life."
More than 50 student organizations will take over the Athletic Complex Parking Lot for the event, presented by members of Thurtene Junior Honorary, 13 juniors who bear responsibility for the continuation of the tra-dition.
The first carnival was held May 9, 1907. It evolved from a circus to a vaudeville show in its early years. Rides appeared in 1914, when a "freshman-powered Merry-Go-Round" was featured.
In 1935 — after a few years off and some festivals in other forms — a revival of the carnival by the Thurtene Honorary saw the inception of what we recognize as Thurtene Carnival today.
Admission to the event is free, though tickets must be purchased for rides and some plays.
Carnival causes parking-lot closures
Thurtene Carnival has caused several parking-lot closures on the Hilltop Campus.
Lot 28, the surface lot north of the Athletic Complex, is completely closed and will reopen April 11.
Lots 30, 31 and 32, and a portion of lot 33, the Tao Tennis Center lots, will completely close at midnight tonight and will reopen April 19.
In Lot 4, the surface lot east of Whitaker Hall, at the corner of Skinker and Forest Park Parkway, 14 spaces are unavailable and will reopen April 11.
For more information, go online to transportation.wustl.edu.
— Neil Schoenherr
The week preceding the carnival, dubbed "Lot Week," receives recognition from the state of Missouri through an official declaration from the governor as "Thurtene Carnival Week." The week features 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 Burmeister Cup, for best overall participation in the carnival.
Corporate sponsors of this year's Thurtene Carnival include Scion, Kaplan Test Preparation and Ackerman Toyota.
Other members of Thurtene Junior Honorary 2005 are Sarah Beth Berry, Colin Carroll, F. Morgan Davis, David Garland, Jonathan Garr, Marshall Harris, Michael Hektner, Jonathan Kramer, Brittany Packnett, Karl Riley, Brittney Roetzel and Margaret Threadgill.
Jim Burmeister, executive director of University relations and Commencement, is continuing his longstanding role as Thurtene's adviser.
For more information, go online to thurtene.org.