Marthapalooza plans for smaller, spread-out event

Asa Daniels, Campus Carrier staff writer

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, on-campus events have been in danger of cancelation, especially Berry’s annual Mountain Day and Marthapalooza celebrations. However, Marthapalooza event chair, senior Breelan Baxter, maintains hope the event will occur as planned on Oct. 10.

“Yeah, that’s always a chance right now, that we’re gonna have to cancel something last minute, which hopefully that doesn’t happen because Marthapalooza is still happening and I think a lot of people already think it is cancelled, but it’s not,” Baxter said.

The event plans to continue with operations similar to previous contingency plans for rain. The activities will be spread out across campus, with seven rides at Clara Bowl, while booths, entertainment and food will be on main campus.

The entertainment will include crafts, student performers and inflatables, according to Marthapalooza booths and entertainments chair, senior Alisa Jordan.

Rides will have limited attendance. Only students who are wearing a color coordinated wristband for their specific hour at Clara Bowl will be allowed to be on the rides. Students will be getting an email by the end of this week to sign up for their hour.

Once students have signed up for their hour on the rides, they will go to the information desk in Krannert to get their corresponding wristband, according to Cecily Crow, director of student activities.

“We will be checking people in and making sure that they have signed up in the right time spot,” Baxter said.

Crow feels confident in the capabilities of the ride service that Berry has employed for Marthapalooza to keep students safe during the pandemic. 

“It’s the same company we’ve worked with for years and they have to follow… the governor of Georgia’s guidelines for carnival rides in terms of safety precautions and whatnot related to COVID-19, so we feel really good about what they have to do,” Crow said.

While the main goal is to commit social distancing at the events, there are other measures being put in place as well. There will be hand washing stations, sanitizers, and signs to remind people to distance and to wear their masks, according to Jordan.

If Marthapalooza does need to cancel, there are no set plans for a virtual alternative. There may be the possibility to do virtual games over Zoom or to stream entertainment, but that is limited, Crow said.

Due to COVID-19, planning for Marthapalooza was uncertain until a few weeks into this semester. While there was some planning in the spring, the future was still unclear.

“Traditionally, we would be, like, actually booking stuff, we would be looking that far in advance and people would be working on t-shirts and we would be on Pinterest searching for ideas,” Baxter said.

This has led to an overall more difficult planning period for the committee, which is also operating w fewer members. However, Baxter believes that a slightly smaller committee has had its own benefits.

“In past years … making decisions as a group is hard, like voting on a t-shirt design when you have 20 people in a room, like, everyone’s different opinions are coming from all over the place and it’s hard to just make a decision, but this year I feel like everything was just so much snappier … I think it has streamlined and made things faster,” Baxter said.

Regardless, the committee hopes that people still come to Marthapalooza and find enjoyment in rides and other fun activities.

“We realize it’s not gonna be exactly like it used to be, but we’re trying to stick as close to tradition as possible,” Jordan said. “We want people to enjoy themselves and make this year as best they can and I think it’s really just [about] helping people find community at Berry too, because I realize that that’s also hard at this time and this kinda gives us the space to do that.”

There will also be other events planned for Martha Berry’s birthday, Oct. 7 

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