Spring Carnival booths demonstrate what it takes to be the best of the best

The sun was shining, the wind was blowing gently, and on the Morewood parking lot, lines for booths snaked endlessly across the pavement this weekend for the one-hundredth Spring Carnival: Best of the Best.

From Pirates of the Caribbean to One Booth to Rule Them All, the booths were a hit with visitors: alumni, families, and students alike.

Fraternity and sorority official winners Sigma Phi Epislon’s Lord of the Rings booth and Kappa Alpha Theta’s Pirates of the Caribbean booths were similarly fantastic, featuring intricate details that paid homage to the classic stories they portrayed.

This year, we award our second annual Boothy Awards in what were, although not necessarily category winners, some of the best booths of the 100th Spring Carnival. Without further ado, here is the second edition of the Boothies.

The Hipster Boothy for Best Design

Fringe’s booth “Pittsburgh: The Best City in the World” was unlike any we’ve seen during our time at Carnegie Mellon. Fringe creatively topped its booth with a yellow bridge similar to those Downtown. Better yet, Carnival-goers could walk up a flight of steps to cross the bridge, and what better place for a picture opportunity is there than on top of a bridge? Fringe also provided visitors with a sprawling view of the rest of the Midway with this design. While less impressive than the structure overhead, the room beneath the bridge — containing a racing game that allowed players to use water guns to squirt their own rubber duck through the three rivers of Pittsburgh to the finish line — was still an enjoyable experience.

The Pong Boothy for Best Game

While not strictly a game like the one in Sig Ep’s Lord of the Rings booth, Alpha Phi’s Monster’s Inc. booth provided children with light-hearted entertainment through their activity. Sisters of the sorority surrounded a bed in which a still child, constructed from papier mâché, lay. The sisters asked visitors to scream to wake the child up. When they screamed, he popped straight out of bed, like the child in the simulator in Monster’s Inc. does when scarers like Sully put on their fiercest growl. While seemingly less intensive than some other organizations’ activities, Alpha Phi’s scare game was creative and charming.

The Andy Warhol Boothy for Best Art

The ASA Charlie and the Chocolate Factory booth was colorful, fun, and wacky — one that Andy Warhol surely would’ve loved. The swirling pinwheels on the front of the house were one of many eye-catching features that made this booth worthy of the recognition for best art. Their crazy color schemes and the candy cut-outs were well suited for the booth, and the whole experience was fun and playful. ASA’s work paid off this year, and the booth featured the best art on Midway.

The Andrew Mellon Boothy for Most Underrated Booth

Delta Delta Delta’s St. Jude Hospital booth was not only whimsical and fun, but had an additional philanthropic aspect that other booths did not. The booth was modeled after the hospital, which works with children who are battling cancer. Featuring the playroom, the prom room, and the celebration room, the booth represented an ongoing commitment to charity more than a three-day structure. The final room included an area for donations to the hospital as well as a place for visitors to write down what they’re thankful for. Beautiful, magical, and heart-warming, the St. Jude booth deserved to be recognized.

The Hannibal Buress and Tig Nataro Boothy for Funniest Booth

Alpha Epsilon Pi’s The Simpsons booth was bound to be funny, and the fraternity delivered well. The booth was based on the popular, long-running and hilarious TV cartoon The Simpsons and played on familiar themes from the show in a manner that was humorous and effective. The booth was structured like the house from the show and featured quirky details and numerous references to the show to delight fans, such as a copy of the “In Rod We Trust” magazine cover and a book titled “Drinking Games for the Advanced Alcoholic.” A walk through this booth was sure to be laughter-filled, making it our clear choice for funniest booth.

The Andrew Carnegie Boothy for Best Overall Booth

We hate to be unoriginal, but there was no comparison: Sig Ep once again built the best overall booth. Expectations were high, but the fraternity managed to once again go above and beyond. The sheer scale of the two-story recreation of the Hobbit house — from the tiniest details that were thoughtfully incorporated to the design to the incredibly advanced video game on the second floor — was even more impressive than last year’s Up booth. The effort they put in clearly paid off.


This year’s booths were some of the best we’ve seen while at Carnegie Mellon. Many of the booths seemed significantly more complete than those constructed last year, and it was apparent that organizations put their all into making their booths live up to the hype surrounding the 100th Spring Carnival. This year’s Spring Carnival committee gambled big with the theme “Best of the Best” by giving students open reign to build any booth they desired, but it was clearly the right choice for such a milestone celebration.