Anyone guilty of eyeing those colorful, cartoonlike cartons of Ben and Jerry's ice cream knows one thing, packaging sells. There are times, however, when a product should just speak for itself--at least the organizing committee behind Hopkins' 29th annual Spring Fair thinks so.
Doing away with the long-standing tradition of fair themes, this year's installment is simply being called Spring Fair 2000. The no-frills name is part of a "more businesslike approach" to the three-day event, which will begin at noon on Friday, April 14.
The entirely student-run festival is one of the largest of its kind, typically drawing more than 100,000 visitors to the Homewood campus for fun, food and music.
Allison Ross, co-chair of the festival, said the committee broke from tradition because it felt themes partly obscured the fair and that theme names, such as recent festival monikers Odyssey and Jackpot '99, might have confused the public.
"Some people thought [the themes] were a separate event," said Ross, a senior majoring in sociology. "We wanted to bring the focus back on the fair. It's part of our long-term sponsorship strategy."
The committee also made an attempt at branding the festival by creating a new Spring Fair logo, a piece of artwork that committee members hope will be employed by future event organizers. Other marketing devices include running short advertisements before coming attractions at two area movie theaters and airing frequent radio spots on local stations B102.7 and 98 Rock.
"We also have a commercial running on UPN 24, not to mention the posters we have put up just about everywhere," said Katie Rieder, the festival's other co-chair and a senior majoring in art history. "Now we are just hoping for good weather."
The fair itself, Ross said, will stay relatively the same. Spring Fair is run by a 40-member staff and includes live music, arts and crafts, games and carnival rides for children, food vendors and a beer garden.
Some of the highlights include an antique car show and musical performances by O'Malley's March, fronted by Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley, and by Tim Reynolds, a songwriter/guitar player widely known for his studio work and live performances with the Dave Matthews Band.
This year also features the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, an over-night team event to raise funds to fight cancer. The event will begin with a candlight ceremony at 7 p.m. on April 14 at the White Athletic Center practice field.
Other weekend events include a Friday night a cappella concert featuring Hopkins' Vocal Chords and groups from other universities, at 7 p.m., in Bloomberg's Schafler Auditorium; a pair of lacrosse games pitting Hopkins against the University of Maryland, both on Saturday at Homewood Field--women's at 5:30 p.m. and men's at 8 p.m.; and the New York Comedy Film Festival, at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Shriver Hall.
Daytime festival hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; admission and parking are free. The beer garden is open noon to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Mayor O'Malley brings O'Malley's March to the B102.7 stage, outside Shriver, at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are required for Tim Reynolds, who kicks off the weekend at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, in Shriver Hall.
For more information on Spring Fair events, call 410-516-7692 or visit www.jhu.edu/~spfair".
Also scheduled for Spring Fair weekend is the third annual JHU Film Festival; for details, see below.