UI ready for father of all weekend events

By Courtney Klemm

Although much later than usual, Dad’s Weekend has finally arrived and coordinators are expecting a large turnout.

“My expectation is pretty high,” said Ed Slazinik, executive director of the parent programs at the Illini Union. “Our tent party ticket sales are up 25 percent from last year. It’s pretty encouraging.”

Dads visiting their students for the weekend have a wide variety of activities from which to choose during the weekend.

More than 250 reservations have been made for the Dad’s Weekend Banquet at 6 p.m. on Friday, which will kickoff the weekend-long program. Opening night for the Illini Union Board’s (IUB) fall musical “Hair” is at 7 p.m. Friday. There will also be showings of the musical at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

For members of the Dad’s Association, there is a free continental breakfast at 8 a.m. Saturday in the Colonial Room of the Illini Union.

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    Saturday morning also features a tent party, located west of Memorial Stadium on the north side of Kirby Avenue between Oak and First streets at 11 a.m.

    Heather Dillner, sophomore in LAS, said her dad, Anders, tried to get tickets to the tent party but they were sold out. Dillner said she and her dad attended last year and had a lot of fun while meeting other students and their fathers. Following the tent party, the Illini football game against Indiana University will begin at 1 p.m.

    At the Illini Union Courtyard Caf‚, a hypnotist show featuring Tony Z will start at 3 p.m. for $4 admission and the IUB concert featuring Hip Hop’s Finest is at 8 p.m. with $5 admission or $4 for those with a University ID card. Bill Cosby will also be performing Saturday at Assembly Hall at 8 p.m.

    The University of Illinois has been putting on a Dad’s Weekend longer than any other school, Slazinik said. The first Dad’s Day in the country took place at the University on Nov. 20, 1920. The day’s events included an ROTC parade, the Illinois vs. Ohio State football game and dinner at the various fraternities, sororities and independent houses.

    Dad’s Weekend committee members have been planning this year’s events for months in advance.

    “It’s a fairly large undertaking,” said Ted Rock, chair of the Dad’s Weekend committee and former president of the Dad’s Association. “We first started in March, contacting caterers, calling the tent company, putting packages together … and each member of the committee has different stuff to do.”

    Dillner said she and her friends are anticipating a fun weekend.

    “I think it’s going to be a good time,” she said. “Everyone I’ve talked to is so excited for their dads coming.”

    The Dad’s Weekend crowd is generally pleased with the weekend and its events, Rock said.

    “The University supports it so well. People tell me when they leave what a great time they had,” he said. “(They) tell me we have one of the better ones they’ve ever experienced.”