Where did Booth 2006 take you?

It started off with a bang: The opening of Midway was marked by the moving “Another Time and Place” sign falling off the arch. This slight mishap was probably one of the best indicators of Thursday’s Carnival opening.

The next problem with the opening of Carnival was probably the delay of most of the booths. At 3:30 pm, eight of the 18 booths were still under construction. Carnival officially began at 3 pm, which made nearly half of the booths late. Most of these organizations took the first hour as their down time, closing down their booths to do minor repairs or, in most cases, to finish painting. For the average Carnival-goer, it was slightly annoying to realize that the most attractive booths, such as Kappa Delta Rho’s “Arabian Nights” or Sigma Phi Epsilon’s “Long Ago in a Galaxy Far Away,” were closed.

One booth that was open by the 3 pm deadline was the Fringe booth, “Merlin’s Workshop.” Although small, the booth was filled with details that helped transport the visitor to “Another Time and Place.” On one table, there were bottles that moved by themselves. “We didn’t have all that much manpower to build the booth,” said booth co-chair and first-year physics and statistics major Becca Reesman. Along with co-chair Emily Brayton, a senior architecture major, Reesman began building the booth at the beginning of March. Reesman added, “It looks really good at night,” because of the booth’s constellations. At night, moonlight trickled in through them, creating an ethereal glow on the booth.

Heavy thunderstorms closed Midway on Friday night for about two hours. Most booths suffered as a result of the rain, which led to problems like leaky roofs. Many booths also short-circuited, and
the Carnival Committee had to eventually shut off power on Friday night at around 6 pm. While many booths encountered water damage, like the Taiwanese Student Association’s open-ceilinged booth, some had the foresight to prepare for such an event. One such organization was Alpha Chi Omega. Senior English major Amy Bickerton, one of Alpha Chi’s members, said, “These aren’t ideal circumstances, but we were really prepared and made everything waterproof.” The games of many organizations were also ruined as a result of the weather: ALLIES/cmuOUT’s hopscotch game was basically washed out by the rain.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon faced some logistical problems with their game, too. On Wednesday, the Carnival Committee informed SAE that it was not allowed to use four-square as its booth game. According to the Carnival Committee, four-square was “too dangerous” to be played at Carnival. SAE was forced to change their game into target shooting (read: throw ball into crate).

Sigma Tau Gamma’s “Gotham City” booth also featured a game where contestants got the chance to “Shoot the Villain.” According to Sig Tau booth chair and sophomore music major Stefan Sullivan, “we had no problems during Move-On. Our façade wasn’t really done before, but one of our members stepped up and basically did the entire façade by himself.”

Kappa Alpha Theta’s booth was also one that didn’t encounter very many problems during the entire process. Based on the mythical city of Atlantis, Theta’s booth was filled with “water” — simulated by the use of blue paper in odd shapes — as well as placards that detailed facts about Atlantis. In addition, the booth was filled with games that were interesting and appealing.

Three other booths that deserve mention are Delta Gamma’s “The Wild West,” Delta Delta Delta’s “Beatles Magical Mystery Tour,” and KGB’s “Roanoke Island.” DG’s booth was popular among all the fraternities on the Midway. Rumor has it that the frats were all competing to see who could steal the five-foot oxen constructed of wire and wood that guarded the booth. DG sister Eileen Angulo, a sophomore psychology major, wasn’t too perturbed and said “Eh... boys do that.”

Tridelt’s booth was amazing because of the amount of time obviously spent on it. There were so many intricate details in the booth that one walk-through was definitely not enough to take it all in. The outside wall of the booth featured a rendition of the Abbey Road album cover, complete with head cut-outs so you could be a Beatle too. The details and planning of their booth came to life more vividly on the inside, as different sections of the booth imitated themes from various Beatles songs — an octupus garden for “Octopus Garden,” a strawberry field for “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and a penny lane for “Penny Lane.”

And KGB? The group deviated from its usual Russian theme to produce a unique booth based on the lost colony of Roanoke Island. The resulting booth had a unique character exemplifed in its game, “Zombie Skeeball.” If you didn’t play it, you missed out. All three of these booths encountered few problems during the course of Carnival.

The big surprise was the lack of problems for usual suspect Alpha Epsilon Pi. AEPi’s “The Ancient Aztecs” didn’t collapse. On the contrary, the booth itself was very well-built and authentic-looking. However, it was the game inside — made of lasers and pyramids — that pushed the booth to another level. It was obvious that a lot of time and energy had been invested in making the game fun, and it was time well spent.

Time was a huge factor in this year’s Carnival, for both visitors and organizations. Most visitors ended up spending a lot of time in two huge lines for two impressive booths: Sig Ep’s “Long Ago in a Galaxy Far Away” and Kappa Delta Rho’s “Arabian Nights.” Both of these organizations exploited the fact that they have many computer science majors in their respective brotherhoods, and they used them to make amazing games inside their booths. KDR’s booth even provided a magic carpet ride — visitors had the opportunity to use virtual reality technology to steer the magic carpet on a quest. Tom Kaczynski, a civil engineering major who served as booth chair for KDR, said, “We were worried about putting together the dome and the actual walls. We basically did that after Move-On. Raising the palm tree in front of our booth was also really difficult because the tree was heavy. However, we think that our booth came together well.”

From spring break onwards, the brothers of Sig Ep worked night and day to make their booth true to the original Star Wars; they began Move-On by riding in singing the Star Wars theme. The Death Star was complete with video games programmed by the brothers. Even better, the booth had a life-sized version of Yoda. Seriously, how do you beat that?

The Asian Student Association gave Sig Ep a run for its money. It didn’t matter which way you went through the ASA booth, the prize-winning booth was an adventure from start to finish. The two-floored Alice-in-Wonderland-themed booth directed the audience from the entrance to the finish with signs quoting the popular Disney movie. Life-sized White Rabbits — chicken-wire skeletons with newspaper skin, decorated in felt — decked out the rooms within the booth, and the trippy feel of the adventures Alice experiences in Wonderland was enhanced by the paintings on the walls and the large representations of the popular characters from the movie.

Other booths that came together well this year were the blitz booths. Some were as impressive as the competitive booths, despite smaller sizes and shorter preparation times. Particularly noteworthy was the Conestoga wagon built by Forbes House and Global Studies, a collaboration known as “Forbals.” Although they originally had problems obtaining the lumber, they managed to complete their Oregon Trail-themed blitz booth in time. The details, such as the Apple II logo and the MECC floppy lying outside the booth, made it even more attractive. And those geniuses even waterproofed their canvas. Booth co-chair Gwendolyn Barr noted, “The end result was great even though everyone involved in building the booth was a freshman, so we had no idea what we were doing.”

Other excellently detailed blitzes were the ones constructed by the Society of Women Engineers (a ’50s diner) and Hamerschlag House (“We Love the ’70s”); the exacting artwork on both exteriors and interiors of the MudgeWood (Morewood E and Mudge) and the ALLIES/cmuOUT booths are also worth mentioning. In the MudgeWood booth, the huge version of Nemo, from the Disney movie Finding Nemo, was well worth the trip. The ALLIES/cmuOUT booth was covered in rainbows, referencing their “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” theme.

The booths and blitz booths were worth the time and effort all the organizations put into them. Despite the rain, most remained amazing works of art throughout Carnival weekend.