Frontier Fiesta sees increased
2001 event 'very
successful' despite new location
By Romina Kim
Daily Cougar Staff
Organizers of this year's Frontier Fiesta
saw an increase in the amount of people who attended the three-day event.
Campus Activities advisor Bruce Twenhafel
said the crowd may have numbered between 12,000 and 15,000 people.
"Overall it went very well," said Mark
Ciolli, chairman of Frontier Fiesta. "We are pleased with the turnout and
with the number of people at the concerts."
Twenhafel added a better sense of the numbers
will be available after the number of tickets sold, as well as food and
beverage sales, have been calculated.
The advance publicity and the sponsors
made for the success of Fiesta this year, he said.
"It was very successful," he said. "We
were very pleased, especially after it was moved to the new site."
Walter Coreas/The Daily
The Houston Alumni Organization's
Reunion Hall was one of many fronts constructed for Frontier Fiesta. The
celebration drew a crowd of around 15,000 over the three-day period.
Fiesta was moved to parking lot 12A, west
of Robertson Stadium, because the former site on Calhoun Road across the
Newman Catholic Center is being prepared for the construction of a new
The environment for Fiesta was also different,
Ciolli said. The trees and the area which is usually used for tailgating
parties during football games added ambiance to the festival.
The new location also provided the existing
concrete paths, which made for an improved space, a less muddy event and
less complaints, Twenhafel said.
"We had to make things work at the new
location," Twenhafel said.
The fronts were also smaller compared to
past Fiestas, he said. The surface of the parking lot did not allow for
telephone poles to be installed in order to support the facades, so the
groups had to accommodate their fronts to fit the 14-foot-high maximum.
The new height requirements also allowed
for a shorter time to build the city, he said.
Most of the fronts followed the Western
style, except for that of the College of Business Administration, which
converted its front to resemble a pagoda, Twenhafel said.
"We had a phenomenal group of students
who worked very hard and did an outstanding job," he said.
The winners of the Joe Koeppel sweepstakes
were Sigma Phi Epsilon and Phi Mu. The main Fiesta prize is given to a
group for its participation, banner, acts, costumes and success at meeting
The clean-up after Fiesta was also faster
this year, Twenhafel said, because the weather did not interfere and the
lights of the stadium allowed the student volunteers to work into the night.
More groups participated this year, he
said. More variety shows were available in the carnival booths, as well
as a diverse number of groups that participated in the cook-off.
"I was afraid that because of the nature
of the event, lots of students would feel excluded if they were not part
of a group," Ciolli said. "However, I was surprised to find students not
affiliated (with any group) did not feel excluded."
The cook-offs allowed for community participation
at Fiesta, Ciolli said. Half the teams that competed were not related to
"The Rodeo cook-offs are good for us because
they bring a crowd that would not normally come to UH," he said.
The Impact Cookers, a Katy team of women
cooks, got the top honors by preparing the best brisket. The team also
took home the $500 prize.
The Frontier Fiesta Association also gave
out four $500 scholarships to incoming freshmen, which were awarded for
academic achievement and community involvement.
MEChA, a student group which did not participate
in the event, held a candlelight vigil March 31. The main argument of MEChA's
members is that the name of the event celebrates a dark time in U.S. history.
Ciolli said he had a conversation with the students concerning the changes
they would like to see.
"Frontier Fiesta is about celebrating the
University of Houston as a whole," he said. "It's a place of discovery,
where cultures meet and form greater ones. (Fiesta) opened up to all students.
We did not succeed 100 percent, but for the most part, the perception began
to change as a school-wide tradition."
Twenhafel said the partners that participated
in Fiesta, which included the Residence Halls Association, the Office of
Special Events, the Houston Alumni Organization and the Division of Student
Affairs, will meet at the end of this month to evaluate this year's event
and plan for the one next year.