With Winter Carnival 2019 now in the rearview mirror, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at The Brunswickan’s coverage of some past winter carnivals at UNB and see how the event has changed over the years. While this year’s version seems to have been a success, the same can’t be said for some winter carnivals of the past. Needless to say, this longtime UNB tradition has seen its share of ups and downs, with overspending and vandalism being the two most common issues.
The Jan. 15, 1960 edition of The Brunswickan shows that the amount of money spent on winter carnival has always been one the primary pitfalls associated with the event. Coverage focused on the fact that the 1960 Winter Carnival committee had requested and received an increase in the price of event passes to $2.50. However, what winter carnival looked like back then is what we find most interesting. A far cry from a Shaun Frank concert, a performance of the musical Rose Marie headlined the 1960 Winter Carnival. The cost of the production was said to be over $1500. Also, apparently UNB’s winter carnival was considered a big enough deal that it received coverage on national television.
Winter Carnival ‘72 was considered a smashing success, although this should be taken with a small grain of salt considering most of the comments praising the festival were from members of the Student Union or winter carnival committee. With that said, referring to the carnival as a “smashing” success was quite fitting considering the numerous broken windows, chairs and the “assaulted” men’s washrooms during the event. According to the SUB director at the time, Kevin McKinney, the damage done was “not nearly as bad as the past two years.” This makes us wonder, what the hell happened in ‘70 and ‘71? Another interesting note is the fact that they had planned some sort of skydiving event but were ultimately forced to cancel it. We can’t imagine why!
Finally, we jump ahead to Winter Carnival ‘78 when The Bruns’ post-carnival coverage painted a far less rosy picture. That year’s version was apparently plagued by financial issues, with then-chairperson Barry Newcombe attributing its large deficit to a “lack of experience, rising costs, underbudgeting, unrealistic projections on attendance and consumption of beverages at events, and some mismanagement.” Perhaps giving out free steaks to attendees wasn’t a great idea?