Food, rides - like the Yoyo - and games pack Rillito Downs for the University of Arizona's annual Spring Fling, the largest student-run carnival in the nation.


Work on your aim, practice your scream and pull out your extra-stretchy pants because the largest student-run carnival in the nation is here.

The University of Arizona's annual Spring Fling raises money for campus clubs and offers a wide spectrum of food, rides and games.

"A carnival is a fun, vintagey thing, and I think we kind of want to keep that sense," said Ashely Saindon, the festival's media director.

Spring Fling, located at Rillito Downs for 12 years, returns today. Saindon says she would love to see it return to campus someday.

The carnival is the biggest campus fundraiser at the UA, with at least 45 clubs taking part this year.

"We want to make sure the clubs are making the most money they can," said Saindon, who hopes 20,000 people attend.

The groups, which include service organizations, special-interest clubs and Greek life, run food booths and games. Booths will have signs explaining what the club is and how the money benefits them.

Jared Young, Spring Fling's club-relations director, suggested that people follow their noses toward the back of the carnival, where the student clubs will be cooking up everything from Korean fare and fried candy bars to roasted corn.

"It's fun to taste new food that you can't just walk down the street and get," Young said.

There also will be five commercial food booths.

Expect about 25 rides, including The Zipper, Mega Drop, Speed and a Ferris wheel.

Spring Fling is organized by UA volunteers and eight student directors - six of whom will be graduating, Saindon said.

"It's kind of our last hoorah at the U of A."

If you go

• What: University of Arizona Spring Fling features carnival rides, games of chance and food.

• When: 4 p.m. to midnight today and Friday; noon to midnight Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Sunday.

• Where: Rillito Downs, 4502 N. First Ave.

• Admission: $5; free with Catcard or military ID.

• Parking: $5.

• Tickets: Single ticket: 75-cents; 14 for $10, 32 for $20.

• Deals: Tonight and Friday are wristband nights, which means unlimited rides for $25 (bring four canned food items for $5 off wristband); free admission noon-2 p.m. Saturday; last-chance wristbands for $15 Sunday. Some booths will accept credit cards.

Did you know?

Spring Fling started in 1974 and last year attracted more than 25,000 people.

The lineup

This year's Spring Fling carnival features music and performances daily on the stage.


5 - University of Arizona Cat Call, a male a cappella ensemble.

6 - UA fencing.


6 - Studio One jazz performance.

7 - Orbital Evolution, Tucson's modern hoop troupe.

9 - Retro Future, alternative rock band.


12-6 - Eller College Honda Presentation, includes singing by Mariana at 1 p.m.

7 - 80s and Gentlemen, band.


Noon-2 - Bike safety.

3-4 - Wilbur and Wilma, with UA cheerleaders.

3 - Saguaro Stompers, clog dance company.

4 - Tucson Twist, a competitive jump-rope team.

Alyssa Reilly is a University of Arizona journalism student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact her at 573-4117 or at