Johns Hopkins Gazette: April 21, 1997

An Undergraduate Life:
After The Rain (Of
Course), Spring
Fair Shines

A Gazette series offering
a first-person account of
a freshman experience

Stacey Patton
Editorial Intern

The most frequent challenge I face as a freshman is deciding what to do to pass the time each weekend. I could visit the local malls or stroll around the harbor. Playing pick-up basketball games at the Athletic Center is always an option. Or I could simply be a dedicated student and focus all my attention on my work.

This past weekend I had no problem deciding how I was going to have fun. I spent part of last Friday and most of Sunday afternoon enjoying the festivities at Spring Fair. Most of the week I heard a great deal of built-up rhetoric about how much fun Spring Fair is each year. I must say that it lived up to its reputation.

On Friday I checked out the scene on my way to track practice. The atmosphere was bright and relaxed. The sound of Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage" blared over the Upper Quad. Some people bobbed their heads up and down to the music while others lip-synched the words. It was interesting to see not only the students but also the faculty and administrators escaping the confines of their offices to get a piece of the action.

After buying a bag of pink cotton candy I stood and watched the rides from a distance. It was funny to watch some guys who looked like they were football players scream as they rode on some of the fast-paced rides. And it was even more hilarious to watch people get off some of those rides--they looked as if their lunches were going to jump right out of their faces.

Being in college often reminds me of how much of a young adult I am becoming. There is so much responsibility and so many new challenges that I face. But as I stood among my peers and older adults with my mouth and fingers sticky from the cotton candy, I felt like a child again. I felt as if I could run around and be loud and no one would ask why. Most important, I realized how much I benefited from just the short amount of time I spent at the fair. It wasn't just filled with nostalgic moments, it was a release.

Unfortunately, Saturday's rain spoiled the day, but everyone had the opportunity to return to fun on Sunday. My first stop was "The Beach," where I checked out the car show. As I examined some of the old models I imagined what it must have been like to ride in one during the time period when they were popular. A nice gentleman allowed me to sit in the driver's side of his old Ford. He explained things about engine parts and other things I really have no knowledge about. It was just great to sit there and imagine that the car was mine.

While some things change others stay the same.

As a child attending fairs and amusement parks, I always lost all my money playing the games. Well, I must have spent $5 on just one game. It was a water shooting game, where the goal was to win a stuffed animal. However, this young boy who must have been half my age ended up winning most of the games. He had the joy of walking away with a handful of toys.

Among the rides and games there were many other interesting booths at the fair. Most of them were food booths selling cheese fries, hot dogs, Indian food and a little mixture of soul food. Other booths sold arts and crafts. There was even a booth that advertised cellular phones, which I thought was a strange thing to have at a college fair. I guess people will use just about any affair to sell their products.

All in all Spring Fair was great fun. But I think the thing that stood out in my mind the most was to see all the different people who attended. There was a great deal of participation from people off the campus. It is nice to see that an academically orientated institution like Hopkins can maintain close ties with the community through events like Spring Fair.

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