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Carnival story is Blue Key’s glory

February 17, 2011
The Daily Mining Gazette

We may have lost the MacInnes Cup (again) and January's cold snap wreaked havoc on statue building, but Winter Carnival 2011 did not fail to disappoint residents and visitors to the Copper Country alike.

Begun in 1922 as a one-night "Ice Carnival" put on by the students' association, Winter Carnival didn't pick up speed until Blue Key Honor Fraternity (now Blue Key Honor Society) took up oversight in 1934, after years of Carnival dormancy due to the Great Depression.

Since then, Blue Key has had oversight over much of the current Winter Carnival, including planning, publicity and fundraising. As soon as one Winter Carnival is over, planning for the next one begins. There's the theme to choose, which is done by committee, and a logo contest to sponsor, and induction of new members as seasoned Blue Key members graduate. Committees are then established for overseeing special events, the stage revue, the queens competition, funding and awards, snow statues, and publicity.

All that said, Blue Key does not do it alone. More than 90 local organizations and individuals contribute to Winter Carnival, whether it's the cities of Houghton and Hancock moving snow around to statue sites, to local businesses participating in the window decorating contest, to donations of Dee Stadium ice time.

Carnival is more than just a beloved Michigan Tech tradition; it's a community event that brings everyone together. One stroll down the campus mall or College Avenue during the famed all-nighter is evidence that the normal boundaries of town vs. gown are set aside. The same is true for the crowds of strangers that huddle in the cold, teeth chattering, to view the fireworks display over the Portage Canal, oohing and aahing in unison.

So thank you, Houghton. Thank you, Hancock. Thank you students, sponsors, visitors, residents, and all who contributed to this year's wonderful Winter Carnival. But most of all, thank you Blue Key, who do so much work to keep this historic, magical event a thing to remember, year after year.



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