AT Hopkins' Spring Fair, April redeems itself for past cruelty

April 19, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

As the curtain fell on Johns Hopkins University's annual spring fair yesterday, organizers heralded the weekend return of a seldom seen player: Sunshine.

"It's so hectic out there -- that makes me feel good," said Bruce King-Shey, one of the fair's organizers. "This makes up for Friday when we had to cancel [the fair]. I'm really happy to see these kinds of crowds and this kind of weather. It's great."

Sunday's 60-degree-plus temperatures and sunny skies boosted weekend attendance at the Homewood campus, where students have organized fairs since the 1970s, to about 70,000, organizers said.

The fairs showcase Johns Hopkins and the surrounding community. "It's a good way to bring people together," said Mr. King-Shey, an engineering student.

Rain and thunderstorms caused organizers to cancel the fair Friday, shortly after opening ceremonies. Mr. King-Shey said it has not been unusual for fair organizers to cancel one or more days because of bad weather in recent years. "We've been rained out for years," he said.

"Hollywood '93" was the theme this year, and students decorated the campus with palm trees, life-size Oscars and caricatures of Elvis and movie stars. Walkways were renamed "Sunset Boulevard," "Rodeo Drive" and "Vine Street."

Fairgoers could step into a "make your own video" booth or pose for glamorous pictures. "Waldo" roamed the crowded campus, the Village People sang disco and at least one vendor claimed to have seen actress Kathleen Turner -- who is in town to play the lead role in the new John Waters movie, "Serial Mom."

Themes change yearly, but the fair remains traditional at its core -- foods ethnic and ordinary, arts and crafts sales, and brochures and pamphlets of nonprofit organizations that run the gamut of political, social and vegetarian concerns.

"Many things stay the same," said Brian K. Choi, one of the fair's organizers. "We have the traditional handcrafted arts. We don't have anybody peddling rubber dogs from China."

Whether they were selling T-shirts, jewelry or fried dough, vendors welcomed the weather.

"This always get rained out," said John Koutoufaris, a Greek food vendor. "But today has been pretty good. This year has been better than the year before."

Kathy Higginbottom has been subject to all types of weather since she began selling fried dough there several years ago.

"Typically, we have rain, snow or sleet. It's just that time of the year. I remember one year I came here, it snowed in the morning, turned to sleet and then rained. About four o'clock the sun came out."

Many fair goers return every year -- no matter what the weather.

"It's one of the few social gatherings where you can see all kinds of people from different walks of life," said Ted Levin, an environmental well driller from Baltimore who has visited the fair since he was a kid.

"Sunday has been a tradition for rain," the 27-year-old said. "But today I see a lot of life here. You can't beat it. It's a great place to take the family."

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