Jazz Age is Winter Carnival theme

by Sarah Rubenstein | 11/24/97 6:00am

The theme of this year's Winter Carnival will be "The Roaring -20s," which celebrates the 1920s with a pun on Hanover's frigid February temperatures, the Carnival Committee co-chairs said yesterday.

The committee of about 30 students decided on "The Roaring -20s" because of the diverse images the theme brings to mind. "There are quite a few different ways that people can look at this theme, interpret it and come up with ideas," co-Chair Andrew Louis '00 said. Carnival is scheduled for Feb. 12-15.

The Programming Board may plan a swing ball in conjunction with the event. The Carnival Committee also may plan an event that makes reference to the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, in which seven Chicago mobsters were murdered in 1929, said co-Chair Benjamin Moor '00. Valentine's Day is the third day of Carnival.

The snow sculpture for the center of the Green will most likely be a car from the 1920s, although a swing-dancer or gangster are also popular options. Todd Garfield '00, who draws the cartoon "Dartmoose" for The Dartmouth, is the sculpture chair.

Winter Carnival was established in 1909 in response to a suggestion by Dartmouth Outing Club founder Fred Harris '11. Harris wanted students to utilize the "splendid opportunities which our College offers." The event began as a sports field day and was expanded in 1911 to include social events and an intercollegiate skiing competition.

Although the 1920s are the theme of the celebration, the Carnival will be notably different from those of the Jazz Age.

In those pre-coeducation days of the College, women were a central attraction of the event. Men invited them for the weekend in the hopes of creating a romantic atmosphere.

One now-defunct Carnival tradition which began in 1923 was the crowning of the "Queen of the Snows," in which one female was chosen in a beauty pageant to rule over a dance held at the Dartmouth Outing Club's Occom Pond lodge.

The first Carnival theme was established in 1925, when "Jhaten heim dskarnival" celebrated Scandinavian winter festivals. That year also marked students' creating the first snow sculpture, a medieval castle.

Moor said some members of the committee are looking back at the College's Winter Carnival atmosphere at the time, but they do not plan on reviving dead traditions.

Members of the Carnival Committee chose "The Roaring -20s" over another popular option, a theme associated with the moose, which some students view as Dartmouth's unofficial mascot.

"There wasn't a whole lot that we could do with that, though," Louis said. The moose did not provide a large variety of ideas for a sculpture, tee-shirts, posters and events. But the 1920s theme sparks many ideas.

"There's a lot of freedom for artists to come up with creative entries for posters and T-shirts," Moor said. "They could take an art deco slant, or just go with another style using one of the multiple images related to the theme."

The Committee is sponsoring a contest for undergraduates to design the official poster and T-shirt to go with the theme. The deadline for entry is Jan. 6.