Tradition continues with Dads Weekend sold-out events

University tradition for over 90 years, Dads Weekend brings many fathers of Illinois students to campus to enjoy a weekend full of fun events.

“Tradition is very popular throughout this campus,” said Rebecca Salzman, assistant to the director at the Illini Union Parent Programs Office. “The University recognizes the conservation of parents and families, so it has been encouraged to be continued.”

Salzman said the tradition of Dads Weekend began when Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity members invited their fathers to campus in 1913. The Illini Union Parent Programs then continued the tradition after being founded Nov. 6, 1922.

The Program planned many Dads Weekend events this year, many of which are already sold out.

J.B. Bailey, the Illini Union Parent Programs Adviser, gave a rundown of the events that will take place during Dads Weekend. The events will include the Dads Weekend Welcome Reception, Illini volleyball, the pre-game barbecue, football, the Rock Band Concert and the Dads Weekend Brunch.

On Friday, the Dads Weekend Welcome Reception will occur at the Illini Union. During the reception, King Dad will be announced, based on previously submitted essay-based nominations written by students who wished to show appreciation for their father figures.

Tony Smaniotto, president of the University Dads Association, said the crowning of King Dad is his favorite part of the weekend.

“(We are) proud fathers, and we like to be able to help our young students,” Smaniotto said.

Once King Dad is crowned, he presides over many of the weekend events. He is given a crown and scepter and can sit with Chancellor Wise at the football game.

The same night, the Illini volleyball team will play against Iowa in the State Farm Center at 7 p.m. It’s the third time that the team has played in the center, and Smaniotta said that over 500 $7-tickets have already been sold.

On Saturday morning, the annual, sold-out pre-game barbecue will take place in the ARC, offering the usual pulled pork sandwiches with scalloped potatoes and green beans. Smaniotta said that since they never know when the game will start, they always stick to the same food, no matter the time of the game. After the barbecue, attendees can head to the football game. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. at Memorial Stadium, and Illinois will play Miami University of Ohio.

On Saturday at 8 p.m., American English, a Beatles tribute band that dresses up like the Beatles, will perform in the Rock Concert at Foellinger Auditorium. This will be the second year in a row that the band has played at Dads Weekend. Tickets are $15 and $25 for multiples of two.

Bailey said the American English is one of the few bands that cover the entire Beatles repertoire, from the early Mop Top days and Sgt. Peppers to the Abbey Road Sessions.

Bandleader Eric Michaels does all of the Paul McCartney parts of the Beatles songs. He is even left-handed like McCartney. Michaels has been a member of the band for about 20 years and said that the wide spread love of the Beatles is what brings them all over the U.S. Michaels said that performing last Dads Weekend was one of the highlights of the band’s year, and they are excited to be back this year.

“Every concert is special in its own way; this one is more special,” Michaels said. “The excitement will be there, I can feel it already. It’s gonna be a good fun time for everybody, I guarantee it.”

Along with all of the scheduled events of Dads Weekend, many central buildings on campus will be offering free tours. The ARC, Altgeld Bell Tower, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Undergraduate and Main Libraries will offer tours throughout the weekend. Each of these tours are first come, first serve, with the exception of the Altgeld Bell Tower Tour, which requires a reservation. More information regarding tours can be found on the University Parent Program’s Dads Weekend website.

On Sunday at 11 a.m., there will be a sold-out brunch in the Union. This is the final planned event for the weekend, but many family members stick around to see the rest of campus and spend time with their family.

Sam Giglio, sophomore in Fine and Applied Arts, plans to tailgate with his dad at the Evans Scholar House before going to the football game with his dad and roommate. After the game, he and his dad plan to go to dinner.

Julia Hector, sophomore in LAS, said both her mom and dad are coming to campus this weekend. They will participate in Alpha Gamma Delta’s bags tournament and then attend the volleyball game. On Sunday, she plans to take them to brunch.

Illini Union Parent Programs and students alike plan to make Dads Weekdend memorable, whether it involves tailgating, attending the Rock Concert or taking a tour of the Altgeld Bell Tower.

Olivia can be reached at [email protected]