Don your pie-eating bib and polish up your ring-toss skills--it's fair time again at Johns Hopkins. The 30th annual Johns Hopkins Spring Fair will begin at noon on Friday, April 27. The entirely student-run festival is one of the largest of its kind, typically drawing more than 100,000 visitors to the Homewood campus. Run by a 40-member staff, the three-day event includes live music, arts and crafts, games and carnival rides for children, food vendors and a beer garden.
The bulk of this year's activities will take place on Garland Field and P lot, the parking area south of Garland Hall (see sidebar below), because of the new landscaping of the fair's traditional location on the upper, lower and freshman quads.
"Our biggest challenge was coming up with where to put the fair. I think it is going to be better this way. We will have everything in one spot," says Elise Cummings, who is co-chairing Spring Fair with Subir Sahu. Or mostly everything, Cummings adds, as the lower quad is now the kids' area, the site for coloring contests, an obstacle course, magic shows and other activities.
Sahu says that although the fair has moved, it will contain the same number of rides, vendor booths and activities.
"We wanted to move the fair to a nice area, and we didn't want to scale it back," he says. "We have worked really hard since May on this because we wanted to have a good blueprint for how the fair is going to be for the next 30 years. We have a great staff, and they deserve all the credit for putting this big event together."
Some of the highlights include an antiques car show, Def Comedy Jam and musical performances by the Pat McGee Band and by O'Malley's March, fronted by Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley.
Def Comedy Jam, popularized by its appearances on cable TV, will feature four young comedians, including headliner Sam I Am. The comedy showcase was the launching pad for performers the likes of Chris Rock and Bernie Mac. Other activities include a DJ show/dance party at the Glass Pavilion, a pie-eating contest and extreme games.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fair, the 2001 version is subtitled 3400 On Stage, the festival's original name. To help celebrate the occasion, the current Spring Fair staff has organized a reunion day for past organizers.
"We thought that since the fair was changing, it would be nice to invite all the old chairs back. They can see how it has changed over the years and how it looks this year," Sahu says. "The entire weekend should be a lot of fun. We can't wait."
Festival hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; admission and parking are free. The beer garden will be open noon to 7 p.m. on Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Mayor O'Malley brings O'Malley's March to Garland Stage at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Tickets are required for Def Comedy Jam, which kicks off the weekend on Thursday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Shriver Hall. Admission is $5 for students; $10 for all others.
Tickets also are required for the Pat McGee Band concert, to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Shriver. Hopkins students are admitted free; $5 for non-Hopkins students with I.D.; $10 for all others.
For tickets, call 410-516-7692 or go to the Spring Fair office in the Mattin Center. For a complete fair schedule, go to www.jhu.edu/~spfair.