How Spring Fair Has Changed

 

Spring Fair 1976

Spring Fair 1976

Despite being around for more than 40 years, Spring Fair, in fact, has become smaller. From the 70s to the early 80s, Spring Fair spanned the entire Homewood campus, and invited many outsiders from nearby schools and other Baltimore locals. Attendance at these earlier fairs exceeded 100,000 people, and as imagined, there were some uninvited guests. With alcohol spread out across the campus and not confined to a designated drinking area, Spring Fair was difficult to control and often attracted some unwanted guests. Jane Rhyner, faculty advisor, recalls “one too many altercations with Harley-Davidson guys.” In 1981, this led to scaling back of the fair, including the introduction of the Beer Garden, the single designated drinking area on campus. This led to a decrease in the general “rowdiness” of Spring Fair and also prevented outsiders from walking around with their own alcohol, which created a liability, in and of itself. In addition, Night Time events, which were often large parties in the Glass Pavilion lasting until 2 in the morning, required identification, as well as J-Cards, restricting the evening to only Johns Hopkins affiliates as opposed to the thousands of outside guests. This has evolved into music and food on the Levering and Latrobe Patio. Food vendors and Crafts vendors, too, were scaled back from hundreds to around forty. In general, activities became less hazardous as an attempt to manage risk: Fairs of past years had Hot Air Balloon Rides and a car show lining the beach. These activities have been replaced by other games and contests such as pie eating contests and even “chariot races.” The fair with these changes became more manageable and more intimate; however even with the scale-back, the success of the fair still depends on outside guests. “Hopkins kids will always come,” says Rhyner. “Outsiders, in doses, are really important to the success of Fair.”

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