Smorgasport Returns to CSULB Campus

Jose Cervantes
ENROLLED STUDENTS ride the Paratrooper; one of three carnival rides present at the event.

The 21st annual Smorgasport kicked off on Thursday, Sept. 8, at Long Beach State University, transforming the campus into a vibrant carnival with games, food, rides, and activities exclusively for enrolled students to delight in.

Managed by Beach Pride Events, a division of Associated Students, Inc., which orchestrates various student-life events, including concerts, speed friending meetups, film screenings, and other entertainment programs, Smorgasport had returned for its second installment after a two-year hiatus imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the event resuming in 2022.

The carnival grounds were divided into two sections: the Employee 1 and General 3 parking lots. The latter hosted food trucks, games, and activities, while the former was home to three carnival rides and a roller rink. Among these rides, the paratrooper ride emerged as the crowd favorite, boasting the longest line.

Its unique feature allowed carts to swing horizontally as the wheel transitioned from descending to ascending. Occupants were loaded one at a time, akin to a Ferris wheel, resulting in a brief but spectacular view of the distant Walter Pyramid, approximately 560 yards away.

Unlike previous Smorgasport events, which were open to LBSU alums, the post-pandemic carnivals were exclusively reserved for currently enrolled students. Despite the larger venue compared to recent years, this year’s Smorgasport drew a considerable crowd.

As mentioned earlier, ride wait times exceeded an hour individually. While students could find shorter lines for various activities and booths, the inclusion of alums might have made matters more challenging for all attendees.

A larger-scale carnival with more attractions and services might be necessary for a more comfortable experience if alums were allowed to participate.

Students had numerous activities to choose from, including airbrush tattoos, caricatures, balloon twists, inflatable slides, a jousting platform, hamster ball racing, archery, and classic carnival games.

Additionally, five food trucks offered a variety of options, including Indonesian fusion, vegan street food, burgers, crepes, and Greek street food. A free water refilling station was conveniently located across from the food vendors.

Several booths featured business sponsors, organizations, and campus clubs, such as McDonald’s Corp., Be The Match, and the LBSU Archery Club, many of which offered free prizes. Throughout the carnival, four DJs rotated every hour, playing an array of party music, including hits like “OMG” by Usher, “No Type” by Rae Sremmurd, and “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar featuring Lucenzo.

Smorgasport ran from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the first 500 attendees from two of the three entrance check-in lines received a complimentary Smorgasport ‘23 shirt featuring the same design as the promotional flyer, adorned in a Chantelle color shade.

The event provided three general seating areas, including an LED garden lounge, hammocks, and, most prominently, chairs and tables in the middle half of the E1 lot. Last year’s Smorgasport faced weather challenges from Tropical Storm Kay, leading to its cancellation and rescheduling over a month from the initially planned date.

Stacy Najera, a first-year philosophy major, reminisced about her attendance at Smorgasport in 2017 when her brother was enrolled. She expressed her preference for this year’s event, held at the E1 and G3 lots, over the 2017 event, which took place at the E2 lot and front USU lawn.

“I like this one more because it has more things to do than 2017,” she said. Her favorite ride was the paratrooper, and she deemed Smorgasport, as it stands, very enjoyable overall.

Smorgasport’s inception traces back to 2000 when it served as a detox and destress event with a modest turnout of about 50 attendees. Over the years, it has evolved into a widely recognized and beloved carnival event, with recent Smorgasports in the past decade drawing between 4,500 to 6,000 attendees.


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