Spring festival a sunnysuccess

Laurie Kemp

Despite worries about bad weather, the Dinkytown Spring Festival and the SpringJam had a sunny day to pack in sun-loving college students Saturday.
“They couldn’t have picked a more gorgeous day,” said Amy Weller, a College of Liberal Arts junior who had come to watch the festivities.
The daylong festival –featuring 16 different artists selling a wide variety of crafts and artwork — is a promotional event to keep the neighborhood in the public eye and to encourage people to shop there, said Leah Cutter, coordinator for the Dinkytown Business Association.
The Dinkytown Business Association and the student-led SpringJam committee coordinated the day’s events. The Program Council also sponsored the activities held on campus throughout the week in conjunction with the SpringJam committee.
As part of the SpringJam activities, 13th Avenue was closed off from Fourth Street to Fifth Street for a band competition between different greek houses. Local food vendors, two beer gardens and carnival events, such as human bowling, sumo wrestling and the moon walk, provided additional entertainment for the crowd.
Another stage was set up in the north end of the McDonald’s parking lot for fraternities and sororities competing in a Ballyhoo contest. Local bands sponsored by KEGE (93.7 FM) also performed on the stage.
The Ballyhoo is a dance team competition, said John Richardson, co-coordinator of SpringJam. Richardson said the event is competitive, and teams train for several months.
Despite the number of people coming to Dinkytown for the event, Minneapolis Police officers didn’t expect any problems.
“There have been a few drunks, but they’re college kids anyhow,” said Minneapolis Police Officer Cory Saba. “I’m surprised we didn’t have more people passing out because of the heat.” Saba, who has been hired by the Dinkytown Business Association in previous years for off-duty patrol, said there has never been a real problem with festivalgoers in the past.
Although hundreds of people attended the event, some of the vendors in Dinkytown didn’t have the customers they had expected.
“It’s slow,” said Billy Zahn, a manager at Iron Spirit, an Indian cooperative vendor at the Alternative Art Gala sponsored by Magus Books in Dinkydale. “It’s a good festivity, but it didn’t seem to be as many people as last year.” Zahn said despite the lack of customers, he would be back next year. “It’s nice to make money, but it’s fun to come down here and enjoy yourself.”
The University fraternities and sororities also provided entertainment and games throughout the day as part of their SpringJam.
“It’s kind of like a homecoming week,” said Tiffany Davis, a member of Alpha Phi. “It promotes relations with the University and students, and it also raises money for charities.” Money raised at SpringJam helped offset the cost of the Special Olympics held at Coffman Union on May 4.
The fraternities and sororities worked with the Program Council to put on a bigger event than last year, said Richardson. More than $40,000 was raised from sponsors such as the University, A & E, Coca-Cola, Miller Brewing Co. and others.