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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Annual fest prep begins


Frontier Fiesta set up began this week. The traditional festival will include carnival rides, games, contests and concerts. Proceeds support scholarships. | Brianna Leigh Morrison/The Daily Cougar

Construction began this week in preparation for this weekend’s traditional annual Frontier Fiesta.

The three-day event was founded in 1939, with various discontinuances. It has been ongoing since 1991 and has remained an honored tradition to Cougars.

This year’s festival kicks off Thursday and runs through Saturday, with most of the revenue going to scholarships for UH students.

With budget cuts set to reduce the number of grants and scholarships students receive next year, this version of Frontier Fiesta could play a part in relieving the funding shortfall.

“This past year specifically, we gave $11,000 to undergrad UH students, graduate UH students and incoming freshmen,” said Amanda Sigurdson, director of development for Frontier Fiesta. “There are academic and community service scholarships that we award.”

Sigurdson said the budget cuts have not affected the festival as much due to Frontier Fiesta getting the majority of their funding via fundraisers.

“Frontier Fiesta gets better and better every year,” Sigurdson said. “We upped the scholarship amount of how much we give out, we’ve upped the participation of the diverse University organizations on campus and we’ve upped alumni participation.”

Students can look forward to carnival booths, carnival rides, concerts, shows, and cook-offs sponsored by organizations and departments.

The festivities begin at 4 p.m. Thursday with an opening parade and continue until the Saturday night awards end at 1 a.m.

Beth Kungel Borck, who was Frontier Fiesta’s chairman in 2002, said the event has grown since her time as chairman — specifically, the number of attendants to the event. She points to Frontier Fiesta’s website as a key factor.

“Back in 2002 websites were a little bit different,” Borck said. “There just so much more plugged in right now, so they’re able to reach a wider audience and are able to get the message out about the event significantly better than we did back then.”

As chairman in 2002, Beth Borck took on the challenge of reaching out to groups on campus who had not participated in the past.

“My goal when I was chair was to increase the diversity of the people attending and participating in Frontier Fiesta and I am very pleasantly surprised to see it continue,” said Borck. “It is wonderful to see across the board participation by all kinds of groups now because that’s really what the event was made for. It’s made for the entire University of Houston community.”

Beth Borck, who now works as the Director of Development at The Honors college, recalled Robert Earl Keen being the headline performance in 2002. This year, Wale is scheduled to Headline Friday Night.

A complete line-up and schedule can be found online at www.uh.edu/fiesta.

Preparation for the festival has caused parking lots 12A and 12B to be closed for the rest of the week until Sunday. During the closures students with Economy passes may park in Student lots.

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