Blunite: The Shebang that Blu Me Away

Matthew Lee/TBL Photography

Kamran Yunus

Isla Vista saw the annual Blunite “Lite the Nite” carnival out in People’s Park last Saturday, May 14, an illuminated light-based event filled with enjoyable games and mesmerizing light shows. Blunite is a memorial-based organization created by University of California, Santa Barbara Art Professor Kim Yasuda and her I.V. OpenLab students, who are known to have created unique pieces of amazing art all throughout I.V.

Yasuda created the event as a day to remember the hardships that I.V. has gone through in recent years and to celebrate the unity of I.V.’s community through a night of fun and festivities. Blue LED lights were chosen to spearhead the event in recognition of Shuji Nakamura, a Nobel-winning UCSB professor who invented the blue LED.

Though the background of Blunite is rich and fascinating, the actual Lite the Nite event itself is simple to describe: a jolly good time. Similar to UCSB’s Second Annual Carnival After Dark that was hosted a few weeks ago, Lite the Nite was set up with a wide variety of activities, including games, booths and a dancing area permeated by the pumped-up beats of the professional DJ present at the event.

The entirety of People’s Park was marinated in blue LED lights, from the decorations placed on the trees to the small toys given out to attendees to play with. Though there were a handful of normal lights emitting from some street lights outside the event, People’s Park was mostly lit up by the blue LEDs, giving the park a blue ambiance that made it look like a nightclub. Admission to the event was free and open to the public, which explained why People’s Park was not only filled with UCSB students, but also children and their parents looking for a night of fun out in I.V.

A few of the activities available at Lite the Nite were game booths, with each booth stacked next to each other near the entrance of the event. The types of games were akin to those at an actual carnival, such as knocking down three spiteful-looking toy clowns with small bean bags or loading a bean bag onto a catapult and trying to shoot it into a small opening. Prizes for these games were tickets, and the better you did at the game earned you more tickets.

These tickets could be used two ways: you could either use them at the prize booth (with the prize booth being a little subpar with simple toys), or you could indulge in your inner child like I did and waste all your tickets on gaining entrance to the bouncy house and obstacle courses that were set up at Lite the Nite. When an event can make a grown man and an eight-year-old both find fun in indiscriminately jumping their worries away in a bouncy house, then that event was awesome; with this flawless logic, Lite the Nite was awesome.

Besides the games, Lite the Nite possessed other small pockets of fun, including a ping pong table lit up entirely with blue LEDs, a painting section where you can paint whatever your heart desires with glow-in-the-dark paint, a craft section with buildable bracelets and a photo booth with a line longer than that of a women’s bathroom at Disneyland. Though these things were wonderful fun to take part in, the best activity at Lite the Nite is undoubtedly the giant rave booming toward the back of the event.

A wide area was cleared of any booths or activities for people to release their inner dancing beasts, and glowing toys could be rented out to play with in this dark field of funkiness, all while a DJ was pumping out bombastic beats from the massive, deafening speakers set up right in front of the dance area. It was absolutely amazing; personally, I rented out two light-nunchucks and swung them around like I was some techno-ninja on a mission to fight invisible baddies while other people around me danced away with light-staffs, light-hula-hoops and even a light whip that looked like the nervous system of a human being that was torn out of some poor fellow and adorned with LEDs.

It goes without saying that Lite the Nite was a wild night filled to the brim with excitement and amusement. Blunite was created as an event of remembrance, to remember the trials and troubles that I.V. has gone through and celebrate how far I.V.’s community has come. I’d say Blunite succeeded in its mission, for I’ll certainly remember the fun that took place at People’s Park last Saturday and will definitely come to next year’s Blunite event, as any member of I.V. looking for fun should.