Dad’s Weekend set to kick off

By Wesley Deberry

Since his freshman year at the University, Matt Grothouse, junior in LAS, and his father, Erik Grothouse, have spent every Dad’s Weekend together. Matt Grothouse said their routine consists of tailgating, watching the Illini football game, sleeping, eating and going to bars.

“It makes him (Erik Grothouse) enjoy the campus a little bit more, not just at the superficial level,” Matt Gothouse said. “He gets to experience it – not only see it.”

The University football game is sold out for this weekend as many father and son tailgating duos like the Grothouses will unite for the 2007 Dad’s Weekend beginning Friday.

“I have had I don’t know how many phone calls from parents asking where they can stay because all the hotels are sold out,” Becki Galardy, program manager of the Parent Programs Office, said.

The Dad’s Weekend tradition began when the men of Alpha Delta fraternity first began inviting their fathers to campus.

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The Dad’s Association Annual Banquet will start the events off Friday night. Illini basketball head coach Bruce Weber will be the guest speaker at the event. Galardy said a record 350 reservations have been made for the banquet.

On Saturday morning, the Dad’s Association will hold its annual meeting to elect new board members. Following the meeting, the association will host a tent party where food will be provided to attendees. A total of 1,345 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s Dad’s Association tent party.

While Saturday’s tent party will mark the end of events hosted by the Dad’s Association, other events around campus will provide more opportunities for students to entertain their dads, including Sunday’s Illini soccer game against the University of Iowa.

Though his dad won’t be able to stay the entire weekend this year, Matt Grothouse said they’ll still enjoy their time together.

“It’s not like when both parents are here.” Matt said. “You can have dad’s fun.”