Homecoming is a tradition among many, but for roller coaster riders, cotton candy enthusiasts and those who are not the biggest football fans, NAU’s Homecoming Carnival is the place to go. Students took this opportunity to bond with old companions and make new friends as they traversed the ASNAU-made fairgrounds on Oct. 15.
“I was super excited when I found out the carnival was happening, mostly because I never got to experience any of it last year,” Feir said. “I remember when I toured NAU a couple of years ago when I was in high school. I did it during Homecoming Weekend, and I saw the carnival was here. I was like ‘that’s going to be really cool to experience stuff like that in college,’ so I’m just really glad they did it this year.
“I’m still really excited, my friends and I spent a while over at the yard games and we got a bunch of candy. I got a little stuffed frog, so that was cool. It’s just really fun to be in large groups of people again and not have to worry as much. I feel like a part of campus.
“Last year I really didn’t leave my dorm that often, except to go get food, because there was really no reason to. So this year with the various events and the Homecoming Weekend, it’s the first time I’ve been experiencing the events that COVID put off, and so far it’s been really fun. I went to the bonfire last night too, and it was really fun.”
Early childhood education and early childhood special education
“It feels really good, it’s like a breath of fresh air to be out and doing things,” Hager said. “[Me and my roommate] did stuff like this when the Coconino County Fair was out. We met freshman year, and we do everything together now. If you’re not in pairs or even numbers, you get to go on rides with people you don’t know and get to know them because there’s usually like two-to-four [people per ride]. It’s just kind of fun to meet new people in line and talk and have a good time.”
“I’ve been to the carnival every year, except last year,” Peed said. “[Being able to come back] feels really nice. It’s something I’ve thought of every year, [and] I was really excited it was put on this year — I thought it wasn’t going to be. It was one of the biggest things I missed last year, like my school experience.”
“No one is trying to pander to me or get my money. It’s one of the most student-geared things that NAU does successfully."
“In high school, [homecoming] is never like this,” Miller-Orvis said. “It feels really nice to actually experience college and not have to quarantine. I know sophomores didn’t really get that chance — like they’re also freshmen now. So it’s really nice to actually experience it on my own.
“I think crowds aren’t usually my thing, but it’s kind of fun to realize that everyone is here for the same thing: To enjoy the carnival and enjoy the fact that it’s Homecoming Week. All the rides are a lot of fun. My roommate and I have been hanging out with each other the entire night, so I thought that was really nice to be around someone who you can appreciate the fun with.”
“It doesn’t feel like I live in a ghost town anymore,” Porter said. “It’s not strictly just work and home; I can actually go out and have fun now. Just the general atmosphere, the snacks and the rides and to hear people screaming is fun.
“I came out with my friend. We’re making memories and having these experiences — we just took pictures in the little photo booth over there. I think I’ll look back and say ‘I had fun that day.’”
Criminology and criminal justice
[The carnival] to me is pretty cool, [because] I’m from Hawaii and we don’t see much of this,” Luis-Rapozo said. “I was actually dragged out, but I thought it would be a good experience. I think it’s cool meeting new people and getting to be involved in the community. It’s nice to see everyone coming out in their community and hanging out with their friends.”
“It feels like I’m in one of those college movies — I haven’t really experienced college life yet,” Gerard said. “I went to the bonfire last night, and it felt like I was smack-dab in the middle of ‘Pitch Perfect’ or something.
“You get to see everybody at pretty much their most free self, because we’re on these rides that sound like they’re about to break at any moment, and it’s just fun. Everyone is kind of just getting together, getting away from midterms and spending a couple of hours at the fair.”