A Very Grim Winter Carnival
By Colby Ye, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, February 8, 2013
Get ready, Hanover, because it’s going to be a Grimm carnival.
In a break from last year’s Candyland theme, this year’s Winter Carnival will take on a darker, more mysterious tone with a theme inspired by the Brothers Grimm, according to Winter Carnival committee co-chair Mandy Bowers ’14. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of the Grimms’ first selection of fairy tales, she said.
“We were looking for a change from last year, for something a little bit darker,” Bowers said. “Candyland was very soft and fluffy. We were looking to change it up and make it more ominous and exciting.”
Theme selection began with brainstorming by committee members and suggestions from students. In the end, the committee decided on “It’s a Grimm Carnival” because the theme encompasses many famous stories.
The process of selecting the theme was difficult because many themes have been used for previous Carnivals or raise copyright issues, committee co-chair Michael Perlstein ’14 said. Because Winter Carnival generates revenue through poster and t-shirt sales, there are risks of violating copyrights, he said.
“The thing about choosing the theme is that it’s actually pretty difficult,” Perlstein said. “A lot of the obvious ones are already taken.”
This year’s theme bears striking resemblance to the 1990 Winter Carnival theme, “It’s a Grimm Winter,” with the tag line “Hanover, Hanover, let down your hair.”
The poster from the 1990 Carnival depicts a scene from Rapunzel with a few Dartmouth-inspired substitutions, including a green and white scarf in the place of Rapunzel’s hair.
The coordinators of this year’s Carnival did not intend to replicate the theme from the 1990 Winter Carnival, Perlstein said.
“Our thought process was that it’s the 200th anniversary of the publication of the Brothers Grimm stories, so it seems like a really timely theme,” he said.
Instead of focusing on select Grimm stories like Rapunzel, this year’s Carnival will be more inclusive of Grimm fairy tales in general. The Carnival ball will take the form of a costume party or masquerade ball, Perlstein said.
This year’s Winter Carnival sculpture will be a depiction of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, according to Will Baird ’15, who heads the snow sculpture committee. He said that the wolf will be much larger than Little Red Riding Hood in order to create an imposing feeling.
The sculpture’s design reflects the dark fairy tale theme of this year’s Winter Carnival, according to Wyatt Gutierrez ’13, who assisted with the snow sculpture.
“We’re not really going for a cute, large-eyes, large-face kind of style,” he said. “We’re going to have the wolf large and regal-looking.”
Students expressed excitement about this year’s choice of theme and welcomed its darker nature.
The theme’s intersection of darkness and mystery with fairy tales and fantasy opens up many possibilities, Gutierrez said.
“It’s true that [the theme] does have kind of a little bit of a dark bent to it,” he said. “Despite that, it still has kind of a fairy tale atmosphere. I think it’ll work out well.”
Rebekah Scott ’13 said that the theme was interesting because fairy tales play upon people’s fears. Given that Winter Carnival is meant to be a fun weekend, the theme could introduce an unexpected element of fear, she said.
The Carnival coordinators wanted to create a darker atmosphere without including the gruesome nature of the Grimm fairy tales. They focused on the mystery of the stories so that Winter Carnival could “grow up a little more,” Perlstein said.
However, students also said that the theme will not affect traditional Winter Carnival activities.
“Honestly, I’ve never been too concerned with what the theme is,” Tom Hauch ’13 said. “It doesn’t affect my plan, which is to go to the 99-cent ski day at the Dartmouth Skiway and the parties.”
Many events over the weekend occur regardless of the theme, Perlstein said. However, choosing a theme is necessary for the posters, t-shirts, snow sculpture and arts and crafts.
Mark Andriola ’14 said that the “grim” aspect of this year’s theme is fitting.
“Winter Carnival is a good time to be grim,” he said. “It just makes so much sense with the Dartmouth tradition.”
Perlstein said he anticipates that the fairy tale theme’s flexibility will engage both students and the community.
“What we’re really looking for in a theme is something that’s going to grab people’s attention, include as many people as possible and get people excited about Winter Carnival,” he said. “So that’s what we were looking for — the attention grabber that would get people interested.”