On a clear, sunny day, the rolling fields around St. Andrews feel rustic and charming, a beautiful backdrop against the grandeur of old stone buildings and 600 years of history. On days when creeping fog tiptoes its way around town however, the ghostly haze transforms the fields into an abandoned-looking wasteland. Given the weather, early Wednesday morning saw many frantic CROSSWALK attendees attempting to sell their tickets online. As I chatted with people on the bus ride to Kinkell Byre, many expressed their exhaustion after Freshers’ Week and a slight reluctance to start drinking again, especially at 2pm.
After a small mishap in which my bus ended up down the wrong road and spent 30 minutes attempting to back up through ancient stone arches not built to accommodate large transport vehicles, we finally arrived at our destination. I was a bit surprised to see that the venue looked nothing like the promo video. Instead of a large spread of rides and attractions, there was a drop tower, three tents, and two inflatable games. Forced to be outside because of the nature of a carnival, you feel like you’re trapped in Pinocchio’s haunted amusement park island because of the fog and never-ending fields spread out in all directions. Walking through the barn-like building, I admired the interior decoration; the white balloon-like fairy lights created a magical atmosphere. The bars were well stocked but pricey and characteristically St Andrews by offering bottles of champagne for £40. The dance floor was quite empty though DJ Ashton Squires was not to blame; always on point with his mixes and musical choices, it’s a shame that people just weren’t quite in the mood to dance so early in the afternoon.
After snagging a few free chocolates and bags of candy floss, friends and I decided to attempt the rides and games. To be fair, the ride itself was not awful: fun in that terrifying “I’m about to drop to my death” kind of way. The carnival games were a bit disappointing in the sense that for £25 tickets, they might have rented out games that didn’t appear to be so cheap; hook the duck, coconut shot, and wooden ring toss all seemed very elementary and lacked the flashing lights and ringing bells of a classic carnival. The inflatable obstacle course was amusing if you channeled your inner child; however, not everyone was dressed appropriately to attempt diving through barriers and climbing up walls so very few people actually did the obstacle course. Pole jousting was awesome, but again, not everyone was willing to put on silly helmets and attempt to hit each other with inflatable batons because apparently that’s a bit undignified. In the end, CROSSWALK was a really great idea that had some flaws in the execution. It became an event where people sat around and socialized, eating from the wide variety of food options, perhaps waiting for the buses to start back to town. Maybe if the event occurred during Freshers’ week and had a bigger turnout, or if it took place later in the day so more people would be inclined to drink, or even if more rides and better games were rented, the event could have worked. But this time around, there just wasn’t that much fun at this fun fair.
Photos courtesy of Owl Eyes Photographer, Kathryn Cherkas.