For those of you who remember, ever since your arrival at this university ? actually ever since February 1977 ? there has been a Winter Carnival Weekend. A fun-filled weekend of games, inflatable novelties, events and, all-in-all, lots of free stuff. But this year, there have been no signs or advertisements for this “Winter Carnival.” So what happened to it?

Don’t worry the Campus Activities Board has not forgotten the campus this February. The only difference is that the weekend will have a new look, and will now be called Winter Fest.

Winter Fest is the culmination of many new ideas and events thrown into the original Winter Carnival idea and shaken, not stirred, and flavored with as much of the free seasoning as possible.

There are many reasons to come to Winter Fest ? its fun, its free and has lots of food that is free. It also is a wonderful way to celebrate the beginning of the snow and real winter in Rochester. What would you rather be doing ? huddled inside your frigid room studying the work of long dead white men or spending time having fun with your friends?

To start off the Winter Fest weekend, we have comedian Bobcat Goldthwait on campus Friday, Feb. 1 to give students a free performance at 9 p.m. in Upper Strong Auditorium. As for Saturday, Feb. 2, we will be having a variety of free games and food from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Zornow Athletic Center.

There will be an inflatable laser tag arena, inflatable climbing wall and inflatable joust ring. These are activities that offer a great way to bond with your friends ? beat each other up. For a less violent activity, there will be an old fashioned photo booth, candle art table, write-on-rice jewelry area and two caricature artists so you can take home a likeness of yourself that accentuates your better features. The greatest thing about these activities ? they are free. We will also be having free pizza courtesy of Cordelo’s Pizzeria.

During this time, on the steps of Wilson Commons we will be giving out free doughnuts and hot chocolate in a free mug. You can come play in the snow outside of Wilson Commons and then come to the steps to warm up.

To top off the Winter Fest weekend, we will be having the third annual Masquerade Ball from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in Wilson Commons. The ball is the only event with a fee, but for $10 in advance or $12 at the door you can get the look, feel and experience of Mardi Gras. There will be the 18-piece Nate Rawls Band playing live Big Band and Swing music, as well as a UR DJ, so everyone can dance the night away.

There will also be free masks provided to everyone at the door, tons of free beads, and other little knick-knacks given out throughout the evening. And finally there will be drinks and traditional New Orleans food like creole meatballs, beignets and more, for everyone’s enjoyment. Even though there is a price for this event, there should be enough going on to make the whole ball well worth the ticket price.

If nothing else, the food alone is better than what you might normally have on campus for $10 you get the added benefit of live music and a great atmosphere.

CAB has tried very hard this year to make this year’s Winter Fest be the best it possibly could be. So there should be no reason not to attend something. I hope to see you all there!

Marciano is a junior and can be reached at

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