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. on the North Brookings parking lot April 22-23.
This year's theme is "Let Your Imagination Ride."
Already the oldest and largest student-run carnival in the nation, this year it aims to be better for the environment as well.
For the first time, the event will include recycling bins — to encourage patrons to recycle drink bottles — and disposal and recycling of construction waste, including unused paint.
"Green Thurtene is a new project co-sponsored by Green Action and Engineers Without Borders to encourage an environmentally friendly carnival," said junior Kelly Grady, public relations chair of Thurtene. "Recycling will be available for the carnival, students will be able to turn in empty paint cans, and we will redistribute wood to the community."
Net proceeds from the event will benefit St. Louis Scores, an after-school program where children in the city of St. Louis learn soccer and practice their literary skills through poetry.
"Though so much is changing for the carnival with many new improvements and a switch back to the North Brookings location, the most significant aspect of Thurtene remains constant," Grady said.
"It is a chance for students, faculty and the St. Louis community to embrace a near century-old tradition and celebrate the spirit of Washington University."
More than 50 student organizations will take over the North Brookings parking lot for the event, presented by members of Thurtene Junior Honorary, 13 juniors who bear responsibility for the continuation of the tradition.
Featured will be six facades showing a variety of student-produced plays, and myriad rides and food.
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 now recognize as Thurtene Carnival.
Admission is free, though tickets must be purchased for rides and some plays.
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.
The members of Thurtene Junior Honorary 2006 are Matthew Bliss, Jessica Furie, Angela Goldstein, Grady, Alexandra Kennedy, Joshua Lawrence, Felipe Macia, Lindsay Miller, Jeffrey Taylor, Vikram Sasi, Kandyce St. Clair, Katie West and Kwabena Yeboah.
For more information, go online to thurtene.org.