Carnival Review: Build, Booth, and Beyond
With Midway shifted to the heart of campus, and the warm lights of the Carnival rides illuminating the Cut, I marched my way over to the booths, camera in tow, at around 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. Why so late? Well, for one it made room for unobstructed photographs, and the blazing sun that we’d been blessed with this weekend had finally gone down. Additionally it gave the booths a chance to speak for themselves. The absence of daylight allowed the intricately wired lights to guide the way and showcase the best assets of each booth.
This year’s booth theme was "Game Night," and brought with it many childhood classics, much to everyone’s delight. From Skyrim and Mario to Oregon Trail and Mouse Trap, each booth gave its visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the realms of the games that we’ve all come to know and love.
While the booths were beautifully done, one concern that I shared with many friends who had also taken up the challenge of night excursions was the issue of safety. There were booths with dark stairways that were not well-lit, where tripping was imminent and frequent. Perhaps a strip of white paint lining the edge of each step would help to ensure better visibility, especially for poorly lit booths that plan to stay open at night.
That being said, the winners for this year showed excellence in terms of safety, adherence to theme, and incredibly detailed design.
The winner for the fraternities this Carnival was Delta Tau Delta’s Luigi’s Mansion, which boasted detailed portraits, the haunted likes of Boo, and lurking shadows that thrived in the darkness of the night. In second was Sigma Phi Epilson’s Legend of the Hidden Temple booth, where I was greeted by a skillfully crafted, large, red-eyed stone head that told the story of Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon with a deep voice that echoed resolutely throughout the structure. AEPi’s Dungeons and Dragons took third, complete with a tavern, skeletons, and an ominous sign reading “ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE.”
Out of the six sorority booths, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Mario Party stole the show. Of all the booths I had the pleasure of entering this weekend, the artwork of this booth was perhaps the most true to its theme, with beautiful rainbows, Bowser’s throne, and an encouraging “You are the superstar” posted at the exit in the signature Mario Party font. Kappa Alpha Theta’s Oregon Trail brought the classic game of conquering the western frontier to life with great furnishing and a nice Carnegie Mellon twist, featuring the likes of our very own Scotty. In third was Delta Gamma’s "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?", which included beautiful tributes to the cultures of the world ranging from Chinese lanterns to a golden sarcophagus.
The independent booths this year were very impressive. In first place was KGB’s endearingly strange and cleanly executed "Octodad." The booth was full of bright portraits of the titular character with his family. The booth was simple and tasteful, with enough quirkiness to keep anyone giggling throughout its interior. In second was Fringe’s homage to the world of LEGO®. The structure not only resembles a Lego building, but also included accurate depictions of Lego people, complete with smiling faces and painted-on clothing. In third was TSA’s "Skyrim," which embodied the iconic game with incredible finesse. The booth included a cobble-stone exterior, detailed portraits and figures and bright lights that brought the atmosphere of Skyrim to life.
The Astronomy Club took home first place in the blitz category for their booth of everyone’s favorite Windows ME game, "Space Cadet Pinball." The booth was decorated with key features of the games’ layout and was perpetually crowded, even well into the night. In second was MCS’s "Pac-Man," which was unfortunately closed by the time I got there. Its exterior was very well composed, as was expected of last year’s winners. In third was the Math Club’s Mathematical Puzzles, which, as its name suggests, was full of puzzles for booth-goers to take a moment to unravel.
By my standards, the winners were all well-deserving, but it is worth noting that the hard work put in by all the participating organizations did not go to waste. Alpha Phi’s Mouse Trap, for example, was chock-full of adorable mice, including one particular larger than life mouse trapped behind a grid. As a huge Kirby fan, I was also incredibly appreciative of what ASA put up.
The booths this year echoed the sentiments of our past and present favorite pastimes, and with Midway positioned right next to the rides that brought out my inner child, I found myself spellbound.
Delta Tau Delta ("Luigi’s Mansion")
Sigma Phi Epsilon ("Legend of the Hidden Temple")
Alpha Epsilon Pi ("Dungeons and Dragons")
Kappa Kappa Gamma ("Mario Party")
Kappa Alpha Theta ("Oregon Trail")
Delta Gamma ("Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?")
Astronomy Club ("Space Cadet Pinball")
Math Club (Mathematical Puzzles)