About the group
Almost every college has a spring festival that is the highlight of their year, their pride and joy, but we at Hopkins can honestly say that we have the largest [and I would argue, the best] student-run spring fair in the country. Going onto its 41st year, The Johns Hopkins Spring Fair is a three-day festival celebrated during the month of April at the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins University.The fair attracts over 30,000 visitors from the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. Fully loaded with over 30 food vendors, over 70 arts and crafts vendors, over 20 live performers, and a fully stocked beer garden, it’s hard to believe it is entirely student-run and even self-funded.
Spring Fair is put on by a committee of around 45 students split into 15-20 different committees and we start right at the beginning of the year. The committee is chosen within the first few weeks of school and work starts immediately for some committees. We have a weekly club meeting and weekly committee meetings along with a lot of outside work like research and contacting potential sponsors or vendors. The Spring is especially hectic since like more Hopkins students, we work best under pressure and at the last minute. Since we spend all year planning Spring Fair, the Fair itself runs pretty smoothly so there’s still a lot of time for us all to hang out and enjoy the Fair ourselves. Even though I didn’t get any sleep that weekend, it was probably the best weekend of my year.
Why did you choose to become involved?
I heard about Spring Fair from the SAC fair, as do most people. Personally, I was drawn to Spring Fair because of the nighttime concert. I used to book local rock concerts in high school so when I saw the Spring Fair table, I knew it was something that would be able to help me pursue this interest. I mean, Spring Fair took my local booking abilities and helped me grow them to a national level, booking bands that get paid amounts in the tens of thousands of dollars. Plus, we get to hang out backstage and on stage with them, and that’s an AWESOME perk. In this picture, a couple of Spring Fair guys are sitting in their matching sweatshirts on the stage watching Chiddy Bang.
The great thing about Spring Fair, is that it does have something for almost anyone since we have so many committees: if you want experience handling hundreds of thousands of dollars, you can become a Treasurer; if you like community service and awareness projects, you can help with the Nonprofit section of Spring Fair; if you like to drink, you can help on the Beer committee [traditionally Seniors only].
What special events or activities does this group coordinate?
Well, Spring Fair itself is our big special event that we put on, but it is split into multiple parts. Spring Fair starts on Thursday night with the big Kickoff Party. The Kickoff Party is a big event that traditionally includes fireworks, food, beer, music and games.
There’s a nighttime party like the Underground party of 2010and the Blackout party of 2011. We decorate the venue and bring in DJs for a night of administration-approved fun [read: debauchery]. In this photo, a Hopkins student is opening for the main act at the Blackout.
Obviously I can’t forget to mention the big night time concert we host every year. In past years, we’ve had The Roots, State Radio, Forever the Sickest Kids, and Chiddy Bang; this year, we’re having—well I can’t tell you that just yet, but everyone will love it! We also book all of the daytime music located at stages scattered around campus. Last year, we had a “B’more Showcase” that brought in a day full of local Baltimore indie bands on a large lit up stage on the Levering quad. This photo is from the B’More Showcase in 2011: Who knew Hopkins kids could crowdsurf!
Another very important part of Spring Fair is the Food Court that takes over the Freshman Quad. Covered with food trucks, this is probably my favorite part of Spring Fair: Chicken on stick, Thai food, Cheese Fries, Corndogs, Indian food, Funnel cake, Onion rings, and oh, can you say FRIED OREOS? Yeah, we went there.
We also have games and contests including giant inflatables or hamster balls on the beach, and an area for kids that includes games, magicians and clowns, and even had a penguin and a monkey! This is a picture of the penguin with its owner: What other college fairs have penguins that you can pet? There’s also a nonprofit area where student groups post up to raise awareness, or money, for their causes. Some examples are Pike Bike and Sig Ep’s Cuts for Camp.
Okay Okay, now the one big event that you’ve been waiting for me to mention: the Spring Fair Beer Garden. Even though it is 21+ only, it is almost unanimously every student’s favorite part of Spring Fair. Located in the President’s Garden, is a fully enclosed space for students to daydrink, enjoy music, play games, and hang out with their friends, teachers, and alumni! We always have a lot of variety from IPAs and wheat ales to hard cider and twisted tea.
What makes this group unique?
The best thing about Spring Fair is the closeness of the club. I don’t know of any other clubs that have as many activities and traditions as we do. After the committee members are chosen, we do a big bonding event right at the beginning of the fall and spend the entire Fall bonding. This bonding is crucial to Spring Fair Weekend because everyone on the committee needs to be there for everyone else when problems arise. To do this, we have events outside of our meetings like parties or karaoke fairly regularly to get to know each other, and end the year with a Secret Santa party. This photo is from one of our bonding parties; this is the Games and Contests committee in their winning costumes. I’m going to have to stop here keep our other traditions a secret… you’ll have to join to find out!
How can freshmen be involved?
If freshman want to be involved, it’s not too difficult! Since we do start right away, you have to go to the SAC Fair or email firstname.lastname@example.org with interest right at the beginning of the year. There’s an application and an interview and then you’ll be notified if you have made it onto the committee or not. If you miss the deadline or don’t make it this year, you can always try again your sophomore year or even junior year!
Another way to be involved is just to get your club to contact us about getting a table at the Beer Garden or booths in Nonprofit or getting paid by the hour to help set up or break down staging. It’s a great way of being part of Spring Fair and making money for your club!