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Fun, Games at UCLA's Mardi Gras

May 16, 1987|ELLEN MELINKOFF

UCLA's Mardi Gras is a high-spirited carnival for the whole family. From roaming Smurfs to daredevil rides like the Falling Star, the weekend festival at UCLA's Athletic Field is packed with old-fashioned sideshow atmosphere.

The focus is the 75 or so food, game and show "booths"--a definite understatement, since most of these are elaborate theme structures that get better every year, thanks to competitive spirit among the fraternities, sororities and other groups that sponsor them. This year's biggie is the laser show.

Rides fall into two categories: traditional heart-stoppers like the giant Ferris wheel, and the tamer kiddieland which includes a clown factory where the littlest ones can get done up in clown disguise.

Wandering entertainers include magicians, jugglers and mimes, while live bands will be on stages. Foods include the carny classics: pizza, nachos and quesadillas. In response to complaints that there has been plenty of food in past years but no place to eat it, there are plans for benches and other eating spots this year.

Mardi Gras is a fund-raiser for UCLA's Uni-Camp, a summer camp for underprivileged children. Admission for adults is $3 until 6 p.m. and $2.50 after. Children are $2. All booths and rides are run on a scrip system. Each scrip costs 25 cents and most things cost three to eight scrips.

Today's festival hours are noon to midnight; Sunday's are noon to 6 p.m. Parking is $3 at campus parking structures or free at the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood with 25-cent shuttles every 10 to 15 minutes. Information: (213) 825-8001.

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