UMSL’s annual Mirthweek Carnival offers food and fun for all ages

by | May 1, 2023

The annual event featured old-school carnival games, rides, fair food and plenty of fun.
Mirthweek Carnival 2023

This year’s Mirthweek Carnival brought dozens of faculty, staff, students and members of the community together for fun and games. (Photos by Derik Holtmann)

One of the oldest traditions at the University of Missouri–St. Louis returned to campus last week with the celebration of Mirthweek.

A beloved UMSL tradition since 1986, Mirthweek is designed to promote campus cheer and reward UMSL students for their hard work all year long. This year’s Mirthweek festivities ran from April 22 to 27, kicking off with the 7th Annual Goose Chase 5K and 1 Mile Walk that ran through North Campus. Other events, organized by the University Program Board in the Office of Student Involvement, included the Student Leadership Awards Banquet, bingo and the popular Mirthweek carnival.

On Wed., April 26, the East Lawn outside the Recreation and Wellness Center was buzzing as dozens of UMSL faculty, staff, students and members of the community gathered for some good old-fashioned fun at the carnival. Attendees could test their skills at a variety of carnival games, such as skee roll, plinko, bottle ring toss and hi-striker, and thrill-seekers lined up for a ride on the Scrambler and Tornado.

Mirthweek Carnival 2023

Old-school carnival rides such as the Scrambler proved popular with attendees.

Student Brendon Bay was looking for an excuse to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, and enjoyed the inflatable axe-throwing. “My favorite part is just getting to see all these people having fun,” he said.

Mirthweek Carnival 2023

Guests could test their skills at a variety of different carnival games.

Other attendees were drawn to the tasty carnival fare, including pretzels with nacho cheese and ice cream. UMSL students Divine Akinjiyan, a senior studying computer science, and Nora Ovchiyan, a senior studying biology, took a quick break from the games to dig into some ice cream. While Akinjiyan said the ice cream was her favorite part of the carnival, Ovchiyan was more enamored with the Scrambler. “My elementary school had one at a school picnic and I loved it then, so I wanted to reminisce,” she said.

Mirthweek Carnival

UMSL students Divine Akinjiyan, a senior computer science major, and Nora Ovchiyan, a senior biology major, enjoy ice cream during the Mirthweek Carnival.

Carnival attendees could also have balloon animals made or caricatures drawn. Psychology students Ailyn Tran, a peer mentor for the Office of Multicultural Student Services, and Amanda Cutak were surprised by how many activities were available, and enjoyed having their portrait done by caricaturist Xandraya Rodriguez. “It’s nice to see so many people here,” Cutak said. “I’m glad I came.”

Mirthweek Carnival 2023

Caricaturist Xandraya Rodriguez sketches a portrait of psychology students Ailyn Tran and Amanda Cutak during the carnival.

Freshman Earneisha Farmer stumbled upon the carnival while reading a flyer in the Nosh and was glad she did. “I didn’t have classes, so I thought I might as well go have some fun,” she said.

Heather Riske

Heather Riske