Winter Fest is an attempt by the Campus Activities Board to rouse UR students from their dorm rooms and let them enjoy some on-campus entertainment. “It’s a nice little break in the winter season – trying to bring some fun and excitement to the campus,” sophomore and Campus Activities Board Event Chairperson Jeff Keesing said. The weekend began Friday with comedian Mitch Hedberg, who performed in Strong Auditorium. “Each year there’s a comedian on Friday night and following that is Casino Night and on Saturday night there’s the Masquerade Ball, which is a New Orleans-style Mardi Gras-themed ball,” Keesing said.”The comedian was a huge success – it was free for UR students and it was completely sold out – every seat was taken and we actually had a simulcast going downstairs, which had a pretty decent turnout as well,” Keesing said. “He got a lot of name recognition after touring this summer. People knew him – he’s been on Comedy Central before and it seems like everyone really enjoyed his humor,” Keesing added.Junior Class Council president Emily Hickey helped to organize Winter Fest’s second annual Casino Night. “The junior class council was one of the sponsors of Casino Night on Friday night,” she said. “It was co-sponsored by all four class councils.”Attendance was estimated to be 300-350 people.”The event went really well – we had a great turnout, everyone had a great time, the prizes were given away, people were sitting at the tables gambling all night long and we ran out of food,” she added.The event featured a raffle in which a DVD player and a digital camera were given away. The raffle also encouraged gamblers to remain at the event until the end. Games included blackjack and roulette.”Casino Night was also a pretty big success. A lot of people had a lot of fun there,” Keesing said.Saturday night featured the 5th annual Masquerade Ball.”We didn’t have quite the turnout that we had wanted at the Masquerade Ball,” Keesing said. “It was a little lower than we had expected, but everyone who went there seemed like they were having a blast, so that was the main idea.”The Nate Rawls 18 piece big band provided swing music and a DJ was on hand as well. Swing dance lessons were available the week prior to the ball. Towers Hall Council had planned a snowball fight for Saturday afternoon, but no one attended the event. Throughout the weekend, students were invited to make snow sculptures-the best creation was awarded a prize. The snow sculpting contest was sponsored by Towers Hall council.”I think Winter Fest went very well, everyone had a great time, we had a great comedian, a really fun Masquerade Ball, and a well-attended Casino Nite,” Hickey said.Keesing explained the process through which CAB chooses entertainers such as Mitch Hedberg.”CAB works with our adviser in the Student Activities office and given our budgetary constraints we work with an agent,” Keesing said. “We usually brainstorm a bunch of ideas first and then give those to the agent and he’ll tell us the different asking prices for each of those comedians and it depends on their availability also. CAB generates the ideas and we go from there and see what’s feasible,” he added.Yunis can be reached at

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