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Spring Fling

Citizen Staff Writer



A giant human slingshot and the smell of funnel cakes and Sonoran hot dogs draw crowds north on First Avenue like pilgrims seeking healing.

It’s evidence of spring.

And Spring Fling, the four-day carnival operated by clubs from the University of Arizona.

Thrill seekers and carnival-food aficionados can get their fill of fun beginning Thursday, when the 35th annual Spring Fling opens at 4 p.m. at Rillito Park Race Track, 4502 N. First Ave.

The largest student-run carnival in the nation is also the largest fundraiser for UA student clubs. Spring Fling garnered more than $60,000 for participating organizations last year, according to UA junior Chase Sutton, marketing director for the event.

For the past three years, Spring Fling has also served as a “foodraising” partner for the Tucson Community Food Bank, offering discounted admission to carnivalgoers who bring cans of food to the event on certain nights.

The goal this year is to collect 5,000 pounds of food for the bank, Sutton said. Three cans of food Thursday or Friday get fairgoers a $5 discount off $20 wristbands for unlimited rides.

General admission is $5, but expect fees for various promotions and rides. For those without wristbands, tickets for rides are 75 cents each (rides generally require three to five tickets). The human slingshot near East River Road is a cash-only experience that will set adventurers back $25.

Spring Fling kickoff Tuesday on the UA Mall gave the university community a preview of what’s in store for this year’s event, including an inaugural food-eating contest.

Preliminary rounds of the face-stuffing continue Wednesday on UA Mall, with the finals scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the main stage at Rillito Park, Sutton said.

“They’ll be eating mashed potatoes during the preliminaries and then dinner rolls at the finals,” he said. “I won’t be there for the finals. I’m not sure I could even stomach watching, but people are pretty excited about it.”

This year’s Spring Fling has about 25 rides and games, more than 20 different food booths, face painting for kids and entertainment from a variety of groups, including local bands Haley Jane and Brave Citizen.

And if you don’t have transportation or don’t want to pay $2 for parking at Rillito Park, not to worry: UA student government provides shuttle service every 30 minutes from Old Main in the center of campus to Spring Fling all weekend long.

“This is a Tucson community and a UA community spring staple,” Sutton said. “It’s a lot of fun, and we attract all sorts of people from all over the city because it is a great event with something for everyone.”

Spring Fling things

What: Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s Spring Fling

When: 4 p.m.-midnight Thursday and Friday; noon-midnight Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Rillito Park, 4502 N. First Ave.

Price: $5 general; free to UA students with a Catcard ID, children 7 and younger, and those with a military ID • Rides require three to five tickets, priced 75 cents each.

Promotions: On Thursday and Friday, $20 will buy a wristband that allows unlimited rides but excludes games, food booths and the human slingshot. A donation of three cans of food gets $5 off that wristband. • All with school IDs get free admission Thursday. • On Thursday and Sunday, those bringing an empty Coca-Cola product to be recycled get free admission.

Parking: $2; a free shuttle runs from UA’s Old Main every 30 minutes beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and ending at 12:30 a.m.; from 11:30 a.m. Saturday to 12:30 a.m. Sunday; and from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m Sunday.

Info: 621-5610, www.springfling.arizona.edu

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