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Another Spring with no Fling at UArizona

ASUA: "We have already dedicated ourselves to Spring Fling 2024"
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Posted at 10:36 AM, Mar 23, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It's around this time of year Tucsonans start looking forward to the annual student-run fair and carnival Spring Fling, held in April on the University of Arizona Mall with food, games and rides for families in Tucson to enjoy.

But Spring Fling won't be happening this year, the fourth year in a row it's been canceled.

COVID protocols and safety concerns put a stop to Spring Fling in 2020 and 2021—though in 2021, students got a 'taste of Spring Fling' in the form of goodie-boxes stuffed with fair food and related treats.

In 2022, organizers did not cite public health concerns as the reason for the cancellation, instead issuing a statement that "a reduced number of student volunteers" was the cause.

According to ASUA—the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, the group in charge of putting on the carnival—Spring Fling is one of the country's largest student-run carnivals, with annual attendance numbers averaging in the 30,000s.

And though plans as of last year were to bring back Spring Fling in 2023, ASUA issued a statement of cancellation back in November, postponing the next Spring Fling until 2024:

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ASUA describes Spring Fling as a "complete student experience," organized and staffed entirely by students. In a typical year, ASUA says eight student directors oversee the carnival, which includes more than 40 rides and games, and about 20 food booths, run by on-campus student clubs.

With the amount of institutional knowledge passed down year after year from student to student, it's no wonder this year's event was canceled due to understaffing, internal changes and infrastructure rebuilding—now that the mega-event has been canceled four years in a row, the university currently has a senior class that has not once experienced operating, or perhaps even attending, a Spring Fling during their time as college students.

Spring Fling first got its start on the U of A Mall in 1974, functionally as a creative fundraiser for student clubs. It moved off campus to the Rillito Downs in 2000 when the University began construction of its underground ILC (Integrated Learning Center), where it remained for 15 years, before coming back to the Mall for the carnival's 40th anniversary in 2014.

Should ASUA continue to move forward with its plans for a 2024 Spring Fling, next year's carnival will mark its 50th anniversary.

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Anne Simmons is the digital executive producer for KGUN 9. Anne got her start in television while still a student at the University of Arizona. Before joining KGUN, she managed multiple public access television stations in the Bay Area and has worked as a video producer in the non-profit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne by emailing anne.simmons@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.