Spring Fair Through the Years


A number of factors including new school rules, complications, and unforeseen circumstances have altered the look, size, and feel of Spring Fair since it was started in 1972. Though it is an important part of Fair now, there was not always a theme. Starting from its creation until 1999, each year had an accompanying theme, ranging anywhere from an international flavor to a mythical theme. Highlights include The Roaring Twenties in 1975, which featured an Antique Car Club and movie showings from that era; Odyssey in 1983, which had exhibits on the future of technology hosted by Hopkins Tech programs and other corporations and; Liberty ’88: A Fair Heard ‘Round the World, which featured a US Army Drill Team to open that year’s Spring Fair.


These lasted annually until Spring Fair 2000, which, beyond the desertion of the traditional theme, brought many changes to the weekend in general. Due to the campus “beautification project,” most of the typical fairgrounds could not be used and posed an enormous hurdle for the staff who hoped to replicate the fairs of previous years. The project entailed that all asphalt on campus be replaced by the brick that sits on the paths today. Not only was it not finished, but also the university was hesitant to let trucks and tents cover anything that was completed. The theme, at the time, was a low priority and fell by the wayside in order for the chairs to focus on making any fair possible. Beyond simply choosing a theme, there is a lot of effort that goes into making it work. This includes original art for posters, flyers, and programs as well as decorating the campus accordingly. With these annual obstacles out of the way, the chairs, along with the rest of staff, could focus their efforts on rearranging fair for the first time since it started. Originally on the freshman quad, there were games, contests, and carnival rides, but due to the “beautification” project, the university did not want any trucks, tents, or machinery on not only the walkways but the quads as well. This left the chairs with very few options, one of which was the Mason quad, now a beautiful grassy lawn, but then a concrete parking lot. Many of the attractions had to be moved there to comply with university guidelines. It was an experiment that didn’t last very long as the university relaxed some restrictions, giving the fair some flexibility and allowing chairs to use more of the campus.