Did you know students at Memorials
St. Johns campus recently staged winter carnival, called Winter
Blast 2002? Gazette student columnist Jeffrey Pardy was there
to bring you all the details.
a rock star is what the winter carnival talent contest was all about.
In case you didnt notice the posters
stuck to the walls perhaps because half of them were ripped down immediately
after they were put up and the ads in the Muse, winter carnival
recently descended upon MUN. This year the carnivals name was
changed to Winter Blast in an effort to get more students, both residential
and otherwise, involved in the festivities that took place over two
weeks. For me, winter carnival always means that the Battle of the
Bands (once called Band Blast) has come around again, since its
the only event that I really cared about.
However, in an attempt to inform and entertain good readers of the
Gazette, I decided to check out a number of events of this
I showed up at the food sculpting contest expecting to see mashed
potato castles encircled with bubbling moats of gravy. However, upon
seeing that all the products were still in their respective cans and
boxes, I asked Marcus Penny, who organized this years blast,
what was going on.
One year there was no snow, or not enough snow to do an ice
sculpting contest. Someone suggested that food could be used as a
substitute, and thats the way its been ever since.
Hatcher Foxes represented their house with a blend of violin and acoustic
guitar ballads accompanied by tap dancing.
Well, thats not a bad idea. But why
werent the contestants creating noodle Eiffel Towers and meatloaf
Arc de Triomphes? Marcus informed me that instead of wasting the food,
it is kept in its original packaging so it can go to the food bank
after the competition.
But how does one make a crazy and original display out of a bunch
of boring cans and boxes? In order to score points, the teams used
the food, along with a number of required items and their own props,
to create a display that answered the question, Whats
cooler than ice? (Cooler than ice was the theme of this years
For example, Coughlan House made The Coughlan House Ski Resort and
Lodge. This was an ingenious conglomerate of felt figures, a ski slope,
and a ski lodge that looked something like a miniature version of
White Hills Ski Resort. Devin Small of Barnes House, who helped create
the Barnes House Bear, suggested the event was a great idea because
it helps the campus food bank. Bowater decided to actually answer
the question of the contest with their display entitled Liquid Nitrogen.
Squires contributed a Dentyne Ice display to the competition, while
Burke House created Winter Blast Shoot Out. Erin Flynn of Squires
suggested the event is invaluable because the houses purchase the
food that goes to charities after the competition.
Penny organized this years carnival.
Games night was held in the Smallwood Centre,
as students crowded around tables at the far end of the cafeteria
to play popular games such as backgammon and crib. This event wasnt
accompanied by as much fanfare as some of the other events, such as
the talent show, but the students still seemed to be having a good
time. Perhaps games night is a less popular event not only because
it doesnt quite have the hype that the talent show does, but
also because it is not accompanied by alcoholic beverages and constant
mention of corporate sponsors.
The talent show was definitely one of the highlights of the carnival.
The old TSC gym set the scene as hundreds of cheering students packed
the wet floor and lined the dry floor banister to watch their contemporaries
display their musical skills. The sounds of B - O - H2O
and other house cheers rocked the air as fans waited in edgy anticipation.
Im sure I would have been chanting something too, if I hadnt
been the dork with the camera around his neck and tape recorder in
A variety of acoustic, electric, and vocal stars took the stage to
compete for points and the glory of their houses. No matter what they
placed, all enjoyed the shot at displaying their hidden skills for
all to see. The Dirtbags, from Burke House, said that, along
with orientation, Winter Blast is the highlight of the year. Apart
from the fact that the talent show was shortened and open mike night
was cancelled, the Winter Blast is a notch better this year than it
was in previous years.
The Hatcher Foxes represented their house with a blend of violin and
acoustic guitar ballads accompanied by tap dancing. Georgette Parsons
and Jane of the Foxes suggested that the winter carnival and the talent
show in particular, provides an excellent chance for students in residence
to showcase their talents. Stephanie Lundrigan added, Its
a great chance for everybody in the houses to get together and engage
in a little bit of fun, healthy competition.
of the people at this years winter carnival had just as much
or more fun at this carnival than in the previous years. Marcus Penny
did an excellent job of organizing the event, and kept up most of
the traditions of the previous years. However, a few things bothered
me about this years festivities.
Even though the attempt was made to include all university students
in the events, only two non-house teams, Munity and Business 2004,
participated in the Blast. There were hardly any non-residence students
at the games. Is this because of poor advertisement, or because most
students think Winter Blast is only for the students in residence?
Secondly, over half of the events were gratuitously endorsed by corporate
sponsors and were held in either the Breezeway or the TSC gym. After
every two or three acts at the talent show, the announcer would stand
up and reel off the list of companies that supposedly made the event
possible. At one point the MC chugged a bottle of lemonade vodka on
stage, which happened to be made by one of the events major
sponsors. Some events, like the two Breezeway nights, had almost nothing
to do with games and points, and everything to do with cover charges
and drinking. The events that had nothing to do with moneymaking were
surrounded by less fanfare and fewer participants. What was the main
motivation behind Winter Blast for this years council, bringing
students together or packing them into the bars? Perhaps Im
being too harsh, but you can judge for yourselves. For those who attended
this years Winter Blast, it was a lot of fun. It was well organized
and promoted under the constant guidance of Marcus Penny. However,
Im also willing to bet it was as much a blast for the councils
pocketbook as it was for the students of residence.