Sibs Weekend carnival attracts audiences of all ages and gives younger sibs something to do on campus

During Ohio University’s Sibs Weekend, there were few events that would have attracted a younger crowd, leaving students with younger siblings scrambling for things to do other than lounge around the dorm all day and night.

“We’ve been able to find a couple of things,” said Kayla Young, a junior exercise and physiology major who has brought her younger sister to Sibs Weekend all three years, “but it is difficult having a younger sibling.”

The Ohio University Program Council, UPC, held a free carnival in the Baker Center Ballroom on Saturday, Feb. 6, in order to entertain a wider variety of attendants for Sibs Weekend.

Students, parents and siblings alike lined up to get their own personalized balloon animals at the carnival.
Students, parents and siblings alike lined up to get their own personalized balloon animals at the carnival. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Wood.)

Games and events at the carnival included a goldfish table, a candy bar, balloon darts, ring toss, a photo booth, balloon animals and a juggler.

The juggler attracted small crowds everywhere he went and attempted to incorporate the crowd into his act by asking children and adults to volunteer. He had children throw him bowling pins to add into his juggling routine, and he had one parent hold balloons as he tossed a sword at them to pop them.

The sword stunt was in all probability the most graphic or inappropriate moment of the entire two-hour event.

man who volunteered to hold the balloons for the juggling routine. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Wood.)
The juggler took a mock-menacing selfie with the man who volunteered to hold the balloons for the juggling routine. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Wood.)

With lights displaying fun designs on the walls of the ballroom and contemporary music playing in the background, including “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, the carnival seemed to be a step-up from previous Sibs Weekend events marketed toward a younger audience.

“Sometimes they have comedy shows and stuff like that, but they aren’t always appropriate,” Young said. “I think there should be multiple events (for younger siblings) because this is the only one today.”

UPC holds events for Sibs Weekend annually, but this year, it specifically focused on marketing toward a younger audience.

“We tried to make something that appeals to all ages because we know that people have different aged siblings,” UPC President Kiley Landusky said. “It really came from our University Events Executive. She came up with the carnival theme idea, just as a way to appeal to everyone. And it’s really easy to make the games and stuff.”

According to Jenna Sopko who planned the event, UPC was not at liberty to discuss specifics in relation to funding, although Landusky noted that it gets its budget through the Student Senate.

Sopko did, however, say that the Council estimated only 450 attendants. That number was surpassed within the first 30 minutes of the event.

Although it had no way of tracking the exact number of attendants for this event, UPC is planning to implement a card swipe type of entrance for the next carnival, which will only be available to students of Ohio University.

Sib-less on sibs weekend

Sibs Weekend. It’s a time where the Athens’ population doubles as Bobcat families flood the Baker Center on Ohio University’s campus. By 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, the room was full of laughter, screaming and cheering as Bobcats enjoyed the carnival-themed event.

For someone who has never had a sibling down for Sibs Weekend, this is one of the loneliest weekends during the semester. When I stepped into the ballroom, I couldn’t help but feel singled out as kids ran around with their faces painted, getting balloon animals and winning a goldfish in a bag of water. My brother, once again, couldn’t make it up for the weekend.

This year, however, I found out that there are still ways to enjoy Sibs Weekend at OU, even if your family isn’t in town. Here are just a few of the ways to have fun during the weekend!

Sib's Weekend Carnival
Sibs Weekend Carnival
  1. Go to the Sib Events with a friend

Sib Weekend events aren’t just for siblings. They don’t check at the door to make sure every person coming through are family. I went with my big! The coordinators didn’t ask nor did they care about the two girls walking through the doors into the event. Bringing my friend to the carnival was a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would. Her and I walked around the entire ballroom and participated in the activities. Unfortunately, the food was gone by the time we got there, but we were able to throw a ping pong ball into a cup to win a fish, get our faces painted like cats and get balloon animals.

If I had gone by myself, I would not have been able to stay until it shut down at 6 pm that night. Standing in line by myself doesn’t sound appealing. Standing in line with one of my best friends sounds like a blast. Even though my brother couldn’t make it down, I had an amazing time at the Sibs Weekend carnival. This weekend, there were so many other programs that Ohio University put together. They aren’t closed off to siblings only; anyone could go to them as long as they paid for tickets. This weekend is supposed to be a time to bond with friends and family, not a time where sibling-less Bobcats sit in their room wishing for something to do.

  1. Invite a friend or significant other

Who said best friends, boyfriends or girlfriends couldn’t come down during the weekend? No one, that’s for sure. It’s a perfect time to invite them down: there are events with free food, games and fishy prizes!

Kelly Tusing and Nick Taylor spending time together after the basketball game.
Kelly Tusing and Nick Taylor spending time together after the basketball game.

Kelly Tusing brought her boyfriend down for the weekend because her brother wouldn’t have been able to make it. “Last year was boring,” she said. “I tried to go to the Sibs Weekend events, but they weren’t that much fun without anyone to hang out with.” Instead, this year, she invited Nick Taylor to stay the weekend.

Instead of going to the carnival, Tusing and Taylor went to the basketball game and cheered on the Ohio Bobcats in an 80-69 win against the Northern Illinois

Huskies. “It was really cool seeing so many OU students and family at a basketball game,” Taylor, being from Bowling Green, wasn’t used to so many fans in the stadium. “The school has a different feel here then BG. OU puts on more university sponsored events whereas BG has a ton of little kids which is gained towards entertainment.” Tusing and Taylor spent the rest of the evening walking around campus and people watching, something Tusing wouldn’t have found fun by herself. “I would have hated it if I didn’t have anyone to hang out with this weekend. Most of my friends have their siblings out for the weekend.” So she thought she would bring Taylor be her honorary guest for Sibs Weekend. “I still had so much fun with my boyfriend,” she laughed. “You don’t need a sibling to have a great time during Sibs Weekend!”

  1. Go get them mad gains

I didn’t have much to do in the beginning of the day, so I thought going to the gym would be a perfect way to pass the time until the carnival. As soon as I walked into the gym, I was stunned. I work out every day, so seeing it as empty as I saw it was surprising. Normally, I would have to wait for machines to open up, but at 1 pm on Saturday, I didn’t have to wait at all. Everything was free. Only a few people chose to workout today, probably thinking exactly what I was thinking. Going to Ping during Sibs Weekend was a smart choice. If anyone was looking for some alone or quiet time, Ping was the place to go. No one bothered me while I worked out so I didn’t have a need to wear headphones. The music was loud, there was no one talking and the machines were barely in use, so there were no loud clanking noises to drown it out. I worked out for more than an hour and the crowd stayed consistent. There were some siblings there to work out or to take tours, but for the most part, Ping was very empty. I was able to concentrate without any type of distraction.

  1. Go study at the library

With school building cleared of regular inhabitants, Alden Library inhabited the students who had no one to spend the day with. So, instead of going to OU sponsored events, few Bobcats hit the books at the library. As I walked into the library to start my homework, I looked around and saw no one. Nearly every table was empty. I rode the elevator to all seven floors and found a scarce amount of people scattered throughout Alden. I walked up to a girl with all of her things arranged on one of the tables on the second floor and sat down.

Tiffany Touville was hard at work on her accounting homework. “My brother couldn’t make it down this weekend,” she said sadly. “He had car troubles and our parents wouldn’t let him come down.” Touville’s brother has come to Athens for Sibs Weekend the past two years, so this year was a little lonely for her. She had their entire day planned out from going to brunch to watching movies in her room until 2 am. “I went to the carnival in Baker Ballroom, expecting it to be a lot of fun, but it wasn’t really. I felt awkward standing around by myself.” A lot of her friends went home for the weekend to spend Sibs Weekend with their families. “I decided to be productive and work on all my homework. There’s no one here, so why not take advantage of it,” Touville said.

Sibs Weekend for the sib-less is pretty boring, she said to me, but it’s a perfect time to focus on homework because there isn’t anyone around to distract them. “It may not be as fun as we want it to be, the sib-less, but we still have fun because we know we’ve got our homework done when everyone else has to rush to get it done before Monday,” Touville bragged. So, look at that, Sibs Weekend brings out the productivity in those who don’t have siblings in Athens.

  1. Hang out with friends

There’s nothing better than being with best friends on Sibs Weekend. Either it be with friends that don’t have siblings down in Athens or with friends that have siblings with them, the weekend will still be a blast! Get adopted into a friend’s family for the weekend and do everything with them. Go out with best friends and make pseudo siblings for the weekend.

Britt Bilger and her closest friend eating before their trip to Strouds Run.
Britt Bilger and her closest friend eating before their trip to Strouds Run.

Brit Bilger didn’t have her brother for Sibs Weekend, so she grabbed her roommates and went to Strouds Run for the day. “No one else in my house had siblings come to Athens for the weekend, so, we packed up and left,” Bilger said. They decided to make their own fun for Sibs Weekend instead of hanging around campus. Bilger and her group of friends went out to eat on Court Street, then left to spend the day with each other. To them, they are family. They don’t need their siblings in Athens to have a good time. “If we have each other,” Bilger stated, “then we will be okay. It’s a bummer that we can’t have our families down our senior year, but it happens. We have to make the best of it.” Things happen, why sit around and sulk? Make the best of a fun and exciting weekend. The weather was perfect and everyone was happy. Family doesn’t always need to be blood.

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Ohio University hosts a fun and interactive Sibs Weekend for every student in Athens, no matter if they have a sibling or not. Bringing a friend or doing other things on, or off, campus for the weekend creates the memories that OU hopes to provide. Sib-less students may have a harder time during Sibs Weekend, but they still find things to do during all the events on Saturday. Bobcats are busy all day going to different events and programs that the university sponsors for its’ students, such as ice-skating, stargazing, campfires, hockey and basketball games and carnival themed programs. Some cost money while others are free to all that desire to participate in Sibs Weekend. Each student spends this sponsored event differently; the memories from the event are the same: progress, laughter and peace.