While the weather may not have been appealing, last weekend’s Winterfest more than made up for the gray skies. Comedian Michael Ian Black headlined the festivities, and there was something for just about everyone over the course of the weekend.

Black got things started on Friday with a stand-up comedy act in Strong Auditorium, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. The venue was packed for the comedian, who has starred in, among other things, the film “Wet Hot American Summer” and the television show “Stella.” Black entertained the crowd for almost an hour, using a conversational style of humor rather than a strictly scripted approach.

Black interacted with the crowd for much of the night, weaving his comedy into facts about the University and the city of Rochester related to him by audience members. At one point, he asked if anyone was thirsty and gave away one of his bottles of water to a student in the front of the auditorium.

As Black finished, Wilson Commons was being transformed into a Las Vegas-like hotspot for Casino Night. Sponsored by CAB and Class Councils, the event featured two levels of gaming. Hirst Lounge was home to multiple Texas Hold ‘Em tables, while blackjack tables, a roulette wheel and other casino games filled the Pit. Those who attended received cups with fake money upon entering and, based on their winnings, could use the fake money to enter drawings for assorted prizes. Free snacks and drinks were also served at the event.

Saturday featured a wide array of events, starting with the Dodgeball Tournament (Fundraiser for Relay For Life) in Zornow Gym. Co-sponsored by Colleges Against Cancer, the Burton and Lovejoy Residential Advisors, Delta Upsilon fraternity and the Dodgeball Club, the tournament drew 11 teams and raised over $360. A quarter of that money will be donated in the name of Team No. 1, who won the tournament, and the rest will be sent as a general donation to Relay For Life.

Early in the afternoon, students packed Hirst Lounge for Pizza Wars. Sponsored by Dining Services and the Gilbert Hall RAs, the event was a competition between local pizzerias. Papa John’s, Piatza’s and Bene Pizza gave away free slices to students, who were then asked to vote for their favorite. When the final votes were tallied, Piatza’s came out on top. Approximately 400 students attended the event.

Sophomore Brian Magee, a Gilbert Hall RA, was impressed by the turnout for Pizza Wars.

“We were very surprised with the amount of people that came,” Magee said. “Before 2 p.m., the line was out the door of Wilson Commons.”

Pizza Wars included much more than just free pizza. Students were given the chance to win prizes that ranged from food products to gift baskets filled with kitchen supplies by playing a mock “The Price is Right” game. A pizza taste test, during which students tried to guess the vendor based solely on taste, was also held. Representatives from Rochester Every Day were on hand to promote RED and their Valentine’s Day programs. Both Piatza’s and Papa John’s are RED businesses. The Gilbert RAs passed out recipes that could be made using ingredients found at the Corner Store.

Just as Pizza Wars was winding down, over 400 people were filling Strong Auditorium for Black Students Union’s fourth Annual High School Step-Off Competition. The event featured seven local high school step teams vying for three podium spots as well as an award for the best costume. UR’s step team, X-clusive, and a team from School No. 30 comprised of elementary students were also featured in the show but did not compete.

The first place trophy was named in honor of Steven J. Harrison, Jr., ’00, ’02W, who died in a car accident in August. Harrison was a UR graduate who taught at East High School and coached the men’s step team there. That award was won by the Wilson Pearls from Wilson Magnet High School. Legacy, a team from School of the Arts, placed second and the Wilson Diamonds from the Wilson Foundation Academy placed third. Legacy won the Best Costume award.

Sophomore Kyvaughn Henry, one of the event’s organizers, said the show was about more than just a step competition.

“We used the opportunity to address the importance of academic achievement,” Henry said. “We brought in many of the Multicultural Greeks to speak with the steppers about the importance of college and so on. So with that, they all leave gaining a little something extra, whether it’s a trophy or some newly acquired knowledge.”

Later that night, the Yellowjackets took over Strong Auditorium for their concert, “Midwinter 007.” The concert also featured Hearsay, an all-female a cappella group from Cornell University. Despite the blustery weather, students made the trek to hear the Yellowjackets sing a variety of songs, including a James Bond medley to open the show. At the end of the show, the group invited four Yellowjackets alumni on stage to join the group in a singing of “Up the Ladder to the Roof.”

For those who wanted a different kind of musical talent, the May Room was buzzing with the sounds of UR Idol. Students showed off their musical talents in front of their peers at the show, which was sponsored by Lower Susan B. Anthony Hall RAs, with a $100 first prize on the line. Acts ranged from singers to piano and guitar players, each with their own style of music and performance. In the end, UR Hip Hop took the top prize with a rendition of John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.”

The festivities wrapped up with Sunday’s “Next Best Thing to Being at the Super Bowl” Party in Friel Lounge. Sponsored by the Upper SBA Hall RAs, the party featured free food and drinks, as well as a big screen television to watch the NFL championship game.

At halftime, students answered trivia questions for prizes. One lucky student won a television for having the closest guess to the final score of the game.

Over 110 people showed up for the food, football and commercials. The room was divided into Bears fans and Colts fans for the game, and SBA RA and junior Aditi Kadakia said this made for a great atmosphere.

“It was good to see a lot of people from different classes together,” Kadakia said. “It was fun to see the friendly rivalry between the two sides of the rooms.”

SBA RA and junior Jenna Anderson echoed this idea.

“It was exciting that we had students from all over campus attend – I saw sophomores from Southside, seniors from the Quad, and juniors from Towers snacking on chips and laughing at the commercials,” she said.

Moeller is a member of the class of 2009.

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