On Saturday, April 14, 2018, the Twin Cities experienced their first blizzard in nearly thirteen years, as a foot of snow fell on the area in a 14-hour period.
The snow provided the backdrop for Springfest, and necessitated that Program Board (PB) hold the event inside the Leonard Center and not, as is traditional, on Shaw Field.
Program Board had planned for food trucks Pharoah’s Gyros, which specializes in vegetarian and vegan gyro options, and Dough Dough, a dessert company that specializes in edible cookie dough, to serve at the event. Both canceled because of the inclement weather.
The Cave Cafe Mobile was the only food truck to make it to Springfest, where it served its signature Afro-European cuisine. PB also ordered Topper’s Pizza Stix to add to the amount of food at the event.
Student attendance fell as well. In an email to The Mac Weekly, Macalester College Card Services reported that 796 students swiped in at Springfest this year – a significant decrease from the 1104 students who attended last year.
Although they had hoped for the event to take place outside, PB made other changes to make sure that Springfest was still enjoyable in an indoor setting. In an email to The Mac Weekly, event co-coordinator Fangze Li ’19 wrote about the group’s decision to introduce activities such as face painting, finger painting and Twister to the event.
“Springfest isn’t just about the music, but also what people do while between sets,” Li wrote. “We wanted to come up with possible fun stuff people could do. We incorporated activities from previous events that people liked such as face painting and finger painting.
“Beer pong and Twister are fun games at any party,” she continued. “Bouncy house[s] [had] always been popular whenever we had Castles and Castles, another PB event with a bouncy castle and food from White Castle, so why not?”
The snow may also have played a role in preventing medical emergencies related to drinking.
In an email to The Mac Weekly, Mac First Aid Treasurer Jason Kohn ’20 wrote that “Springfest was luckily uneventful this year as we had only one call and no transports. The people on shift last year remember there being approximately 4 or 5 calls and no transports.”
Kohn called Springfest the “tamest” of Macalester’s three biggest social events, which also include Winterball and Founders’ Day. The first event included “four or five calls and one transport” this year, the latter “five calls and two or three transports.”
“It was an historic blizzard in April,” Li said. “I’m just glad everything worked out.”