Carnival concession booth remains a hit

Funnel cake has and always will be a classic and popular Carnival treat. (credit: Chalita Maneetham | Photo Staff) Funnel cake has and always will be a classic and popular Carnival treat. (credit: Chalita Maneetham | Photo Staff) Members of Alpha Phi Omega work hard at the boilers and grills to provide food for Carnival. (credit: Chalita Maneetham | Photo Staff) Members of Alpha Phi Omega work hard at the boilers and grills to provide food for Carnival. (credit: Chalita Maneetham | Photo Staff)

Once upon a time, sweet dough was poured into a pan of hot oil, fried, and sprinkled with sugar on top — and dessert history was made. Ever since then, students have been drizzling batter and frying the same treats to satisfy the entire Carnegie Mellon community.

It’s fried, it’s sweet, and it’s not even breakfast.

Although it could be breakfast. It doesn’t matter what time it is, breakfast is the first meal of the day. At Carnegie Mellon, we eat timely. We fetch a La Prima coffee and croissant at 11:32 a.m. while running late for class, grab an Asiana bowl at 4 p.m. for lunch, and then order Little Nipper’s Pizza at 10 p.m. For Carnival-goers this weekend, Midway treats were a delicious addition to our usual meal plan.

Whatever your college-eating philosophy is, we can all agree on one thing — mid-April is the time for funnel cake and fried Oreos. Funnel cake — pale or deep gold in color, depending on who makes it — lures everyone who walks onto Midway. Even if you don’t see the Alpha Phi Omega booth, you can smell that delicious scent in the air. Around every corner are Carnival-goers eating fried treats, and you can be sure that they intend to finish them.

Funnel cakes and fried Oreos are full of psychological health benefits. The fried carbohydrates call to you, dusted sweetly with powdered sugar. After a while, the steam turns the powder into delicious sugary clumps that really stick to the dough. These typical Carnival treats are delicious Carnival usuals.

Regardless of the weather, the Alpha Phi Omega booth will always stand. Alpha Phi Omega is a national service fraternity that organizes fundraising events throughout the year. With the Carnival opening ceremony last Friday, the Alpha Phi Omega booth opened for business as well.

The roof of the Alpha Phi Omega booth experienced a few rain leaks this year because of tears in the tar paper on the roof. The electronics, ranging from a huge stand mixer to deep fryers and grills, were safe. The brothers were able to quickly fix the leaks in the rooftop. By last Saturday, the booth was once again ready for the afternoon forecast.

While funnel cakes and fried Oreos are Carnival classics, the booth also featured some unconventional Carnival treats. Along with pretzels and drinks, Alpha Phi Omega prepared ice cream because of its popularity from last year, but the Pittsburgh weather was not too considerate of the investment. Hamburgers and cheeseburgers were new to this year’s Carnival. Pizza, however, was taken off the Carnival menu.

The planning of next year’s Carnival starts right after this year’s celebration ends. For Carnival 2011, the Carnival Committee will meet together to decide the menu. Xiaojing Zhu, a senior in business administration and the purchasing chair of Carnival 2010, explained that the committee goes over what food worked and what food didn’t work. The committee then decides what changes should be made. Early in the spring, next year’s menu is finalized.

As for the booth design, Alpha Phi Omega always tries to make the construction as simple as possible, making the booth easy to set up and tear down. Every year, the booth is made ready for rain or snow, and the roof is lined with tar paper to prevent leaking.
This year, Alpha Phi Omega started to build the booth after Move-On and finished the construction in one day. The simple design made everything straightforward for the team. Even with some modification, most people knew the general construction of the concession stand.

On Wednesday, Alpha Phi Omega rented a U-Haul truck to transport food from various stores to the booth. With multiple refrigerators, the members of Alpha Phi Omega could store their food in their booth.

For each day of Carnival, Alpha Phi Omega started setup two hours before Midway opened. During the early morning, while the majority of the campus was watching Buggy, Alpha Phi Omega started to warm up the oil for funnel cake, the boiling water for hot dogs, and the grills for the hamburgers and cheeseburgers.

As the days went by, the number of staff members varied depending on the expected consumer traffic. This year, the booth doors really came to good use by keeping heat from the ovens and fryers confined to the booth.

Unlike the other booths, the Alpha Phi Omega concession stand needed a full staff to run. However, the members’ hard work did not go unrewarded. For Alpha Phi Omega, money raised during Carnival is the major source of funding for the group’s yearly service project. For those participating, Carnival is cooking, eating, and raising money, all at the same time.