At peak times, unprecedented lines stretched beyond Beaver Stadium to get into the Bryce Jordan Center for THON Weekend, drawing criticism from those standing.
Some supporters stood in line for three hours or more, only to be rebuffed by security as the arena filled to capacity.
Despite the swell in attendees, both Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon volunteers and BJC managers do not believe the annual weekend will switch venues anytime soon.
They cited the relationships between the two organizations, fostered since THON Weekend moved to the BJC from Rec Hall in 2007.
If THON Weekend were to move elsewhere, the $12.3 million question remains: Where would it go?
“Honestly, I don’t know where it would move to. Would it move to Beaver Stadium?” asked John Holzerman, BJC assistant general manager for food and beverages. “You obviously couldn’t have the dancers out there in 19-degree weather.”
At a press conference, THON Rules and Regulations Overall Chairman Mike Wellner said he did not take record-breaking lines as a sign that the annual event had outgrown the 15,261-seat arena.
But, he did not rule out forthcoming changes, saying attendance surprised him during the weekend.
“Who knows what the future will hold?” Wellner (senior-supply chain) said.
BJC Associate General Manager Al Karosas said volunteers are responsible for “99.9 percent” of the work during THON Weekend.
But, arena managers often remain in the building for long stints during the weekend, supporting THON overalls through expertise in building security, stage setup and other organizational issues.
Karosas met with THON overalls several times each day during the weekend, going over concerns and logistics.
In the end, BJC management and security officers have the final say in deciding when capacity is met, Karosas said.
Holzerman said that if attendance trends continue, the BJC might reach capacity more often. While the arena did not fill completely on Friday night, he said future THON Weekend attendees might have to expect it.
No matter what the future holds, BJC employees expressed pride in another successful weekend coming to a close without major problems.
“As THON [Weekend] continues to grow and continues to be in the national spotlight, we’re still happier than ever to do what we can,” Karosas said.